Detectives of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) yesterday arrested 12 persons including a Chinese citizen, who used to allegedly swindle crores of taka selling fake lottery tickets, in Chittagong city's South Khulshi area.
According to police, the gang used to "earn Tk 20 to 25 crore everyday" by selling the tickets in Chittagong, Dhaka, Sylhet and Comilla.
An international ring including 11 Chinese citizens is behind this illegal business while a section of Bangladeshis has been aiding them in selling the tickets in the name of one Petronojrul Bangla Development Foundation (PBDF), said the police officials.
“On secret information, police conducted a raid on the fourth floor of one 'Gouree Bhaban' owned by Dr Nilkanto Bhattachariya of South Khulshi and held the 12 including Chinese citizen Sean,” said CMP's Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) (Port) Abu Bakar Siddique.
“Sean, 36, is a computer engineer; he used to come to Bangladesh from China in every two months,” he said.
“During quizzing, Sean told police that all the tickets had been printed and imported from China while they also conducted the illegal business in some parts of Nigeria and Yemen,” the ADC added.
There are four types of scratch cards (lottery tickets) -- "Cricket Run", "Somudrer Guptodhon" (Hidden treasures of the Sea), "Jhal Morich" (Hot Chilli), and "Ten Times Lucky".
By promising a huge amount of prize money, the gang used to attract people to buy the tickets. But they used to give only 15 percent of their earnings as prize money, said the officials.
ADC Abu Bakar, who led the drive, said they suspect that a huge amount of money might have been laundered elsewhere.
Police also did not find any legal documents of the organisation, he said.
He said the gang has three offices in Dhaka's Banani, Chittagong and Sylhet and also a small branch office in Comilla. In Chittagong city alone, the racket has 41 outlets for selling the tickets.
ADC said police is investigating if the money is used in funding militancy.
The gang changes its office frequently, said the ADC, adding that the racket had changed its office four times since it started operation in Chittagong city in 2016.
He said one Nurul Islam Molla is the chairman of the PBDF. While visiting the office in Khulshi, a trade licence of Dhaka North City Corporation was found hanging on the wall of the office. The licence was issued against Nurul Islam Molla.
Police are trying to trace the kingpin of the racket, the ADC added.