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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2556

Tamil Tigers may have stolen millions of pounds to fund its terrorism from British citizens say police

By Walter Jayawardhana

London, 18 January, (Asiantribune.com): Humberside Police in the United Kingdom said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) might have stolen hundreds of thousand Pounds or some times millions of pounds from citizens of the United Kingdom by cloning ATM bank cards of customers who visited a cash withdrawing machine and withdrawing money from similar machines all over the world.

According to the initial police investigations the money by the cloned bank cards have been withdrawn by suspected Tamil Tigers in countries like Germany and Thailand where the LTTE is very active.

The Hull Daily Mail, a provincial daily newspaper of Britain, which carried the story as its lead story on January 16 said, "Money stolen from customers visiting a petrol (gasoline) station cashpoint in Hull may have been used to arm terrorists 6,000 miles away in Sri Lanka."

Detective Inspector Paul Welton, of Humberside Police, said his seven-strong team was investigating possible links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known as the Tamil Tigers.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of customers using the cash point at the Jet garage in Princes Avenue, west Hull, may have fallen victim to the "scam", said Det Insp Welton, to the provincial daily.

The British Government classifies the Tamil Tigers - a separatist group fighting for independence in north east Sri Lanka - as a terrorist organization.

Criminals are believed to have started cloning cards at the garage cash-point in early November and then used customers' personal details to withdraw cash at machines across the world; the detective was further quoted as having told the newspaper. .

Customers' card details are thought to have been gleaned when they used an ATM machine outside the garage shop.

A "skimming" device may have recorded card details, with the alleged Tamil Tiger offenders possibly filming customers inputting bank pins, the police investigators suspected.

The police anyway said, there was no suggestion the current managers or employees were involved in any way.

Det Insp Welton, who heads the force's economic crime section based at Hessle Road police station, told the Hull Daily Mail: "The initial lines of inquiry suggest a Sri Lankan connection and we are aware of this type of crime being one of the main ways of funding the Tamil Tigers.

"It is quite clear from the number of cards cloned this is an intelligent, well-organised group of criminals. The cards have been used in eight or nine different countries across the world, including Thailand and Germany."

Det Insp Welton said "hundreds of thousands" of pounds were believed to have been stolen from customers in Hull, but this could be the tip of the iceberg.

He said: "It is possible other cash machines in the country have been targeted, so in terms of the national picture we are potentially talking about millions of pounds."

Det Insp Welton said his team may be forced to hand the case over to two serious crime bodies, the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Card Unit and the Serious Organised Crime Agency for further investigation.

The Hull Daily Mail further said, “Murco Petroleum, which owns the garage, refused to comment. A 30-year-old man arrested in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, yesterday in connection with the alleged "scam" has been released on bail pending further inquiries.”

- Asian Tribune -

The full text of the news report that appeared in the Hull and Mail

GARAGE SCAM 'FUNDED TERROR GROUP'

08:00 - 16 January 2007

Money stolen from customers visiting a petrol station cashpoint in Hull may have been used to arm terrorists 6,000 miles away in Sri Lanka.

Money stolen from customers visiting a petrol station cashpoint in Hull may have been used to arm terrorists 6,000 miles away in Sri Lanka.

Detective Inspector Paul Welton, of Humberside Police, said his seven-strong team was investigating possible links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of customers using the cash point at the Jet garage in Princes Avenue, west Hull, may have fallen victim to the "scam", said Det Insp Welton.

The British Government classifies the Tamil Tigers - a separatist group fighting for independence in north east Sri Lanka - as a terrorist organisation.

Criminals are believed to have started cloning cards at the garage cashpoint in early November and then used customers' personal details to withdraw cash at machines across the world.

Customers' card details are thought to have been gleaned when they used an ATM machine outside the garage shop.

A "skimming" device may have recorded card details, with the offenders possibly filming customers inputting bank pins.

There was no suggestion the current managers or employees were involved in any way.

Det Insp Welton, who heads the force's economic crime section based at Hessle Road police station, said: "The initial lines of inquiry suggest a Sri Lankan connection and we are aware of this type of crime being one of the main ways of funding the Tamil Tigers.

"It is quite clear from the number of cards cloned this is an intelligent, well-organised group of criminals. The cards have been used in eight or nine different countries across the world, including Thailand and Germany."

Det Insp Welton said "hundreds of thousands" of pounds were believed to have been stolen from customers in Hull, but this could be the tip of the iceberg.

He said: "It is possible other cash machines in the country have been targeted, so in terms of the national picture we are potentially talking about millions of pounds."

Det Insp Welton said his team may be forced to hand the case over to two serious crime bodies, the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Card Unit and the Serious Organised Crime Agency for further investigation.

Nick Cockett, managing director Turn to Page 4

of Travelex ATMs Ltd, which owns the cash machine, said: "All our ATM machines are routinely checked to ensure they are secure and fit for use by our customers.

"This matter was brought to our attention and we immediately had the machine checked by a security engineer who reported there were no problems with the machine and it had not been tampered with in any way.

"We do, as a natural course of business, take these reports very seriously and investigate them fully when they are brought to our attention by the authorities."

Murco Petroleum, which owns the garage, refused to comment.

A 30-year-old man arrested in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, yesterday in connection with the alleged "scam" has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The Hull Daily Mail

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