By Shamindra Ferdinando
Seven Nigerians have been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for cheating Sri Lankans out of large sums of money.
The CID had arrested the group on Friday (May 4) in the Hikkaduwa police area, a senior police spokesperson told The Island.
Sri Lankans had parted with large amounts of money with one woman losing Rs. 9 mn to a Nigerian conman. The Nigerians had got in touch with Sri Lankans through the Internet, offered them valuable gifts
such as gold jewellery, diamonds etc. The official said that the gullible Sri Lankans had subsequently opened bank accounts under their names and handed them over to the Nigerians along with debit cards. The Nigerians had basically enticed Sri Lankans to deposit large amounts of money in bank accounts opened under their names by claiming that those promised expensive gifts were held by the Customs and, therefore, they needed money to clear parcels quickly.
The official said that the CID had raided two house rented by the Nigerians following a spate of complaints. The police are looking for two Nigerians, who managed to evade arrest on Friday.
The seven foreigners have been remanded till next Friday (May 11) pending investigations.
Responding to a query, the official said that the Nigerians had arrived in Colombo on tourist visas, claiming they were here to play football.
The official said that though none of those arrested on Friday were married to local women, some Nigerians taken in previously had Sri Lankan spouses. According to the official the Nigerians had masqueraded as Westerners by posting pictures of ‘white men’
Some Nigerians had befriended married women and lured them into parting with substantial amounts of money.
The CID official said that in spite of frequent appeals, many continued to be entrapped by confidence tricksters.
The official recalled an instance of a local woman married to a Nigerian coming forward to give the suspect bail.
Altogether, 20 Nigerians have been arrested in connection with different cases.