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Eight Arrested in Chennai for Supplying SIM Cards to Overseas Fraudsters



Eight Arrested in Chennai for Supplying SIM Cards to Overseas Fraudsters

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Greater Chennai City Police has unearthed a sophisticated international fraud operation. The gang, consisting of both Indian and Malaysian nationals, was involved in illegally acquiring SIM cards and setting up bank accounts in India. These accounts and SIM cards were then transferred to cyber fraudsters operating overseas, who used them to target Tamil-speaking individuals through various online scams.

The web of deceit unraveled at the Chennai airport when immigration officials apprehended a Malaysian-Chinese passenger, Lee Tiek Yein, 32, during a routine check-in. Lee raised red flags when authorities discovered a suspicious number of Indian SIM cards in his possession – 22 to be exact. Further investigation revealed these SIM cards were obtained fraudulently, raising concerns about their intended use.

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From Airport Bust to Multi-State Network Exposure

Acting on this vital clue, the Chennai CCB’s Forgery Investigation Wing (FIW) immediately registered a case against Lee. He was promptly arrested and placed in judicial custody on June 17, 2024. Determined to dismantle the entire operation, the CCB formed a special task force. Leveraging information gleaned from Lee, the task force meticulously pieced together the criminal network.

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Their extensive investigation led to the arrest of seven more individuals – a mix of three Malaysian nationals (Ganesan, Tang Ching Kun, and Mahendran) and four Indian citizens (Mohammed Manazir from Coonoor, Ramjai from Salem, Rajwinder Singh from Punjab, and Surya Prakash from Madurai). All eight individuals are currently under judicial custody.

A Treasure Trove of Evidence Reveals the Scheme’s Depth

The operation yielded a significant amount of evidence, painting a clear picture of the gang’s elaborate scheme. Seized items included:

  • 550 SIM cards: A staggering number of SIM cards obtained through illegal means.
  • Two laptops: Likely used for managing the fraudulent accounts and communication.
  • 33 Bank account passbooks and chequebooks: Evidence of the illegally procured bank accounts used for money laundering or fraudulent transactions.
  • 20 ATM cards: Providing access to the ill-gotten gains.
  • 23 Mobile phones: Essential tools for communication and potentially carrying incriminating data.
  • One BMW car: A potential sign of the ill-gotten wealth accumulated through the fraudulent activities.
  • Malaysian currency (5485 Ringgit) and Singaporean currency (amount unspecified): Further highlighting the international scope of the operation.

Unearthing the Mastermind: How the Scam Worked

Law enforcement officials revealed the gang’s modus operandi. The network exploited the identities of unsuspecting Indian citizens to acquire SIM cards illegally. They then used these identities to set up bank accounts in India, creating a pool of financial resources under their control.

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The ultimate goal was to transfer these ill-gotten gains by sending the SIM cards and bank account details abroad, particularly to Malaysia and Cambodia. There, cyber fraudsters would use this information to perpetrate various scams targeting Tamil-speaking individuals. These scams likely included the infamous Fedex scam, where victims are tricked into paying for nonexistent deliveries, as well as trading scams and loan app scams – all designed to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

A Major Disruption and a Strong Warning

The Chennai Police’s swift action has effectively disrupted a significant cyber fraud operation. This not only protects potential victims in Tamil Nadu and across India, but also sends a strong message to those involved in similar criminal activities. The investigation remains ongoing, and further arrests are a possibility as the CCB continues to unravel the network’s full extent. This case serves as a stark reminder of the evolving nature of cybercrime and the importance of vigilance. It also highlights the commendable work of the Chennai Police in safeguarding citizens from such sophisticated scams.


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