Foreign national duped of $8,000; third case in 10 days
An Iraqi national who had arrived in the city from Kurdistan on Thursday for a medical procedure was conned of $8,000 by two persons who claimed to be police officers.
Jawad Hasan Hameed, the Iraqi national, was staying at a guest house in Sector 52, near Artemis Hospital, and is in the city to undergo a bypass surgery at a private hospital.
On Saturday, at 5.25 pm, Hameed was taking a stroll in front of the guest house when a car, with two men inside, approached him.
The men, dressed in plainclothes, claimed to be police officers and asked Hameed to show his passport for a routine inspection. Before Hameed could gather his thoughts, the man, seated on the co-driver seat in the car, frisked him and snatched $8000 from his pocket.
Hameed is among several foreign nationals who have been duped in the last two months by a gang targeting foreigners, the police said.
Between October 20 and December 22, at least five foreign nationals from cities in Iraq (Baghdad, Babylon, Kurdistan) and Turkmenistan have been conned by the gang posing as police officers. The gang has looted $23,000 and has struck three times in the last 10 days.
Police officers investigating the cases said that the gang, comprising two to four members, did a reconnaissance of major hospitals and guest houses in the vicinity of the hospitals and waylaid foreign nationals by posing as police officers.
The gang has mainly targeted people in sectors 38 and 39 near Medanta Hospital and sectors 51 and 52, near Artemis Hospital and Sector 56. Giving police the slip, the gang has been using fake number plates on the car to avoid being traced.
According to the police, the conmen told foreign nationals that they were conducting raids in plainclothes and detaining people involved in trafficking narcotics. Dalbir Singh, station house officer (SHO), Sadar police station, said that the modus operandi of the gang remained the same in all the cases.
“The gangs of two-four men make several rounds to identify victims and intercept them at isolated spots. The entire con is pulled off while sitting in the car.
One of the accused introduces them as police officers and asks for identification and passport documents as part of their “inspection”. They ask victims to hand over their bags and wallets and after snatching money, speed away,” Singh said.
Singh added that the gang was operating in a white car with a Delhi registration number, whose two digits have been scratched to avoid detection.
The police said that the gang had duped a Baghdad-based couple in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, 12 hours before they had robbed an Iraqi national in Sector 39.
Ram Niwas, head constable, Sadar police station, said that one of the gang members conversed with the victims in English and the gang identified the victims from their appearance and clothing.
Niwas added that the police had issued guidelines and circulated them at private hospitals, saying that the patients must only show their personal documents to an official if he/she is wearing a police uniform.
“We have interacted with the foreign nationals seeking medical treatment here and their kin, and advised them to be wary of such conmen,” said Niwas.
An official from Medanta Hospital, requesting anonymity, said that the hospital had a department that catered to the problems of international patients and an airport desk that made sure that the foreign nationals are not waylaid.
Difficulty in reporting cases
Tabrez Khan, the director of a medical tourism company, who recently helped a foreign national in filing a police complaint, said that several cases go unreported as the foreign nationals are unaware about the process of filing a complaint.
“The foreign nationals come to the city for treatment. they are from war-torn countries who opt for better and cheaper treatment in hospitals here. In two recent incidents of theft near W Pratiksha Hospital in Sector 56, the victims did not report the incidents due to lack of assistance,” said Khan.
Maddah Ahmed Khan, a medical store owner, said that he was contacted by an Iraqi national, Hussein Abdul Ameer Ali (46), asking for help in filing a complaint after he was duped of $1,000 outside Kamilia Palace Hotel near Medanta Hospital on October 20. “Ali and his friend were waiting for a friend outside the hotel, when a white car intercepted them. Four men claiming to be police officers asked Ali for his passport and frisked his bag. A hotel security guard walked towards the car, prompting the men to snatch his money and drive away,” said Khan.
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