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‘Hypnotised’ man hands over Dh75,000 to conmen

In a bizarre case, manager drives fraudsters to his home and hands over cash

  • By Mazhar Farooqui, Deputy Editor
  • Published: 22:19 September 12, 2012
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit:
  • Money gone: Syed Mohammad Ali Azam was conned out of Dh75,000 in his own home by two men who allegedly used hypnosis

DUBAI: If this con job were rated on a scale of one to 10, then the scam artists should get 10 for their ingenuity and the victim zero for his incredulity or to put it crudely — stupidity.

How else can you describe this bizarre case in which a senior Dubai manager drove the scammers to his home from the office and then, without provocation, handed them Dh75,000?

Pakistan national Syed Mohammad Ali Azam, 50, was at work on August 22 when two men walked into his Jebel Ali site office around 10am and asked for water. “They introduced themselves as pious saints from Pakistan’s Pakpattan district and we started a chat,” recalls Azam.

During the conversation, the elder of the two asked for Azam’s eyeglasses so that he could cast a spell on them. “He chanted something and gave them back saying I wouldn’t be needing them soon. Then he asked me to hold a chit of paper in my clenched fist and make a wish. When I opened my fist the paper had turned into a red stone. I was astonished.”

After some time the men requested Azam to drop them on the main road so they could proceed to Fujairah. They had driven a few kilometres when Azam was ordered to stop and fetch a small stone from the roadside.

“Again they asked me to hold the stone close to my heart and make a wish. When I opened my fist, the stone had turned into a white amulet.”

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Secure in the belief that Azam had fallen for their ‘supernatural’ prowess hook, line and sinker, the conmen made their next move.

Miraculous powers

They asked Azam to take them to his home. “I thought I was blessed to be in such august company and readily agreed.”

Some time earlier Azam had won a court case and got a large sum of money in settlements. Bizarrely, he kept it in a small wooden trinket box in his drawing room, along with other savings. The money was mostly in denominations of Dh1,000 and Dh500.

At Azam’s house in Al Quoz, the conmen performed the paper-chit-turns-into stone miracle again. It impressed his wife and 13-year-old daughter, but not his son, 16, who got suspicious of their motive. But before he could warn his parents, the elder conman, presumably the leader, angrily ordered him to leave the room as he was interfering in his meditation. The teenager looked helplessly at his dad who by now was obliging the guest with another request: A Dh1,000 bill.

“I unlocked the box and handed him Dh1,000. He folded it into a paper and asked me to keep it back in the box. I did that. But after some time the man asked me to empty all the money from the box and lay it out on the table. Then he asked me to lock the empty box and not open it till 1pm,” said Azam.

His wife recalls: “My husband was obeying them like a robot. And even though I could sense what was happening was terribly wrong I couldn’t bring ourselves to stop them.”

The rest of the afternoon passed in an unrealistic blur. At some point, the men asked Azam to keep the money in his (Azam’s) pocket and drop them on the road as they were getting late. Azam said as he drove them they asked him to stop and fetch a small stone. “When I returned the men had stepped out of the car. The leader took the stone from me and holding his shirt out asked me to put the money in it. For some inexplicable reason, I couldn’t say no. It was as if they had put me in a hypnotic spell. I was not drugged or anything and yet like a fool I handed them all the money. They asked me to turn around and take 11 steps without looking back and I obliged,” said Azam.

“When dad came back home he looked as if he was in a trance. We questioned him about the money. He told us to keep quiet and wait till 1pm,” said his son.

At 1pm when the family opened the box, they found just a little over Dh6,000 in it. Curled up among the few notes left was the Dh1,000 bill folded by the conman.

“Everything else was gone. The money was never there in the first place because it was me who handed it to them. It was around Dh75,000. They never made any money-doubling claim. They just said the sight that will greet us when we open the box will be very rewarding,” said Azam who has been kicking himself since.

The family has filed a complaint with the police. “The policemen were laughing when we narrated our story. They couldn’t believe that someone could be so dumb,” he said.

Comments (32)

  1. Added 15:56 September 13, 2012

    This has happened many times to many people. All a person need to do is to be alert and not entertain such unknown people

    andy, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:33 September 13, 2012

    Only solution is that do not entertain these kind of babas when they approch to you, should not talk to them and avoid them at the begining, if you listen them even 2-5 minutes then you will be trap with their hypnotism. We can partially blame this person because he is matured and educated men so he should know this kind of fraud in this age

    Anonymous, dubai, India

  3. Added 14:03 September 13, 2012

    I pity the man, he lost a fortune, i hope people who read the story will learn some lessons from it. it is sad and you may call it dumb, but this really happens.

    abhey, sharjah, Philippines

  4. Added 13:38 September 13, 2012

    Hypnotizing could be misused and many could fall prey to it. I sympathize with the boy who did his best to save his father from the clutches of these conman yet was helpless. Sometimes, elders should listen to their children.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:30 September 13, 2012

    Well to all the civilised people laughing here at this poor man.... Hav'nt ya all heard of Black Magic?? yup sure you all have heard it. But no one has experienced it. The day you do m sure none of you will be laughing at him.

    Ali, Karachi, Pakistan

  6. Added 13:26 September 13, 2012

    We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.

    Mustafa Ibrahim, Kampala, Uganda

  7. Added 13:25 September 13, 2012

    I think we all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives. But all of life's experiences, bad and good, make you who you are. Erasing any of life's experiences would be a great mistake.

    Mustafa Ibrahim, Kampala, Uganda

  8. Added 13:24 September 13, 2012

    Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new

    Mustafa Ibrahim, Kampala, Uganda

  9. Added 13:23 September 13, 2012

    Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Without mistakes, how would we know what we had to work on?

    Mustafa Ibrahim, Kampala, Uganda

  10. Added 13:00 September 13, 2012

    This is sad news.. poor man was victimized by his own countrymen.. Do not get carried away just because they speak your language. Many families were victimized by these 'religious' fraudsters who speak the same language.. Especially when they talk about religion just get away from them. For religious activities there are mosques in every corner of the UAE. You don't need these conmen to preach to you. If the poor man is hypnotized what can he do.. but hypnotism cannot prolong for so many hours from 10am till dusk..

    kadija, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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