Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-1) nabbed 11 members of an international ring on drives over two days in Dhaka for their involvement in forgery of ATM cards of foreigners.
The arrested ring members have been stealing from bank accounts of people from all over the world for a decade through an elaborate process of cloning their ATM cards. They used the cards to make fake transactions with the help of a pool of shopkeepers from different malls in Dhaka.
Nure Alam, one of the arrestees, is an employee of Trade License department of Dhaka North City Corporation. Allegedly he was a key man in connecting the ring with dishonest shopkeepers to run their operations, RAB sources said. The shopkeepers had a 20-25 per cent cut in every theft they aided in, said Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of Legal and Media Wing of RAB.
In the drives on Tuesday and Wednesday at different locations in Dhaka, RAB seized 1,000 blank ATM cards, 200 ATM cards of different banks, six card swipe machines of different banks and a number of other equipment that they used to forge ATM cards.
The arrestees are Shah Aziz Sohel, 36, Jalal Hossain Sumon, 27, Nure Alam, 45, Mohammad Rana, 24, Jahirul Islam, 37, Lutfur Rahman, 42, Md Parvez, 23, Mohammad Wahed, 20, Abdul Ali, 40, Jahangir Hossain, 45, and Kamruzzaman Sumon, 30.
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In a press conference at RAB Media Centre on Wednesday noon, Commander Mufti said the ringhas foreign members including an American named Erin Limo.
The arrested members of the ring stole about Tk30-35lakh every month, Mufti said.
He added that they hardly used ATM booths in the country to avoid surveillance cameras.
One of the arrestees Sohel, who lived in UAE earlier, had linked with Erin Limo to start the ring’s activities in Bangladesh.
In initial interrogation, Sohel confessed that they used to pick track numbers of ATM cards of foreign nationals and clone them on blank ATM cards. However, they targeted foreigners over Bangladeshis as it was more difficult to trace it back to them across international borders, said the RAB official.
A number of other members of the ring are still at large across Dhaka city, RAB sources said.
Some of the arrestees are traders at Bashundhara City, a mall in Dhaka. A case was lodged with Badda Police Station against the arrestees under the ICT Act.
According to Bangladesh Bank’s recent publications, around 500 million US dollars are stolen each year through bank card forgery and thefts across the world.