LTTE links claimed as Sri Lankan scams entire English village

August 7th, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 7 (IANS) An English court has jailed a Sri Lankan man who defrauded an entire village apparently in order to pay back debts to a loan-shark with Tamil Tigers links. Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik, a petrol station attendant in the village of Houghton on the Hill in southeast England, was jailed for two years and nine months Wednesday after he helped to clone more than 500 debit or credit cards to steal 175,000 pounds.

Barely a household in the village with a population of 1,500 escaped the scam, which was carried out over October-December last year.

Residents of the small village, which has a population of around 1,500, had no idea that they had been targeted until learning from their banks that their accounts had been plundered all around the globe.

Leicester Crown Court was told Wednesday that Raik, 33, used a fake card reader to copy the card details of not only villagers but also motorists passing through the area.

Fake cards were then used to withdraw cash from the customers’ accounts in countries all around the world including Australia, Senegal, India, Canada and the Philippines.

Raik gave himself up to police in March saying he became involved in the scam after running up a debt with a loan shark who was linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a guerilla outfit that is banned in Britain.

Raik told police the alleged organisers of the scam gave him the cloning equipment and ordered him to use it to pay off what he owed.

They also provided him with a fake Indian passport and told him he could use it to flee the country afterwards, he said.

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