Five laptops, 14 mobile phones, and a huge number of mobile SIM cards have been seized
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police arrested 12 Nigerians and a Bangladeshi woman from the Pallabi area of the capital on Tuesday.
All of them were the members of a "gift fraud" gang.
The arrestees are - Nandika Clenent Chakengu, 32, Cletus Achuna, 31, Onyekulve Timety Chinongce, 30, Ekene Wisdom, 30, Chigozie , 30, Evunde Gabril Obinna, 30, Celestine Patrick Obiajulu, 30, Mordi Nnamdi Collins, 30, Ordu Chukwudi Sammy, 30, Ndubuokwn Somayina, 30, Nzerem Precious Ekeme, 30, Nwoke Wisdom Chikwado, 30, and fake customs official Rahat Ara Khanam alias Farjana Uddin.
The gang used social media platforms to cheat people in the name of gift giving. And the Bangladeshi woman used to collect money from the victims posing as a customs officer, said CID officials in a media briefing on Wednesday.
The CID has seized five laptops, 14 mobile phones, and a huge number of mobile SIM cards from their possession.
In the briefing, additional deputy inspector general (DIG) of CID Sheikh Md Rezaul Haider said that during primary interrogation, they found that in the last two months, the accused swindled Tk5-6 crore from more than 100 victims across the country.
"The gang members made friends with people using Facebook and offered them expensive gifts from a fake messenger profile named Katherine Cullen Sophia," said Rezaul.
Later, they provided an airline booking document with a list of expensive gift items through Facebook messenger to the victims, he said.
The victims were told that the gift boxes contained goods worth millions of dollars. Also, they were asked to receive the goods from Chattogram Airport Customs, said the CID official.
Farjana, the Bangladeshi woman, impersonated a customs commissioner and pressurised the victims to accept the so-called gifts against a deposit of Tk425,000 in several bank accounts.
She also threatened the victims with legal complications over clearing the goods through customs, if they were unwilling to accept the gifts, Rezaul said.
"After receiving a complaint from a victim, the CID launched a probe into the matter. It was found that the members of the gang made friends with people of the opposite sex on Facebook, and cheated them," said the CID official.
The victim, who lodged the complaint, was forced to deposit Tk 373,000 in various bank accounts provided by Farjana, he added.