At least two Rajshahi men lost their money in last seven days while buying counterfeit Saudi riyal notes from a gang of four who hailed from Gopalganj and Madaripur districts.
Detectives of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) did not reveal identities of the victims, but they arrested the criminal gang yesterday with counterfeit notes worth 20,100 Saudi riyals (Tk 4,42,200) and presented them before journalists in a press conference held at Detective Branch (DB) office.
The gang's leader -- Ilu Sheikh, 32 -- confessed that he used to watch over busy streets in different cities and towns to identify their potential customers, and then scam them into buying counterfeit foreign currencies for last several years.
The group went to Rajshahi in early March. They had already scammed multiple people before targeting the two men.
Ilu Sheikh approached them both posing as a poor person and told them a fake story.
He told them that he was working for a Saudi businessman who left his household goods with him before leaving for abroad. He discovered some Saudi currency hidden inside a pillow. Ilu Sheikh wanted to know what to do with that money.
Following a little bargain, the two men separately procured Saudi riyals from him. One bought Saudi currency worth Tk 2 lakh and another Tk 50,000 -- only to find later that most of the notes were fake.
The two men consulted detectives of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, and the sleuths set up a trap to round up the gang yesterday morning.
The detective team caught Ilu Sheikh and his aide Tutul Molla, 45, in front of the main gate of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital yesterday morning. They had only two real notes of 100 riyal, and 101 counterfeit notes worth 10,100 riyals for sale.
Based on their statements, the detectives later raided a room in Century Residential Hotel at the city's Laxmipur area and arrested two other members of the gang – Momtaz Uddin Mollah, 28, and Bablu Sheikh. The law enforcers found a hundred more counterfeit notes worth 10,000 riyals.
Ilu Sheikh and Bablu Sheikh hailed from Gopalganj district while two others are from Madaripur.
Talking to The Daily Star, RMP DB's deputy commissioner Abu Ahammad Al Mamun said, the gang members informed them that many other groups from the two districts are actively cheating people in a similar manner.
They used to travel to different northern districts for the illegal trade, they told the police, adding that they resorted to a life of crime due to unemployment in their home district.