The suspects with the fake gold pieces Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The Department of Criminal Investigation in Sharjah Police arrested a gang of 12 members, all of Asian nationality, specialised in selling and promoting fake gold.

Police said the gang members tried to hide their fraudulent method as they left a gap between each crime to avoid suspicion of being an organised crime operation.

Colonel Omar Ahmed Abu Al Zoud, Director of the Department of Criminal Investigations at Sharjah Police, said several reports were received from victims stating that they were subjected to fraud by unidentified Asian persons.

How the scam worked

The perpetrators targeted victims who initially were shopping for household supplies. The offenders first offered the victims low-priced phones for sale. They then offered a sample of original gold pieces with Islamic inscriptions that are not available on the local market and at a low price to convince the victims to buy the pieces.

Colonel Abu Al Zoud said in order to complete the plan, the offenders asked the victims to inspect some of the pieces at the gold shops to ensure their genuineness, to gain the victim’s trust. After finalising the deal, the victims discovered that the items actually received were fake – they were gold-plated metal pieces.

Colonel Abu Al Zoud said that it was noticed that the victims’ reports were on different dates but after the criminal method was monitored and the reports were linked to each other, the investigation teams were able to arrest 12 gang members after uncovering their identities.

All of the suspects confessed to their participation in the fraud, which was based on distribution of roles, starting with a team monitoring the victims, others negotiating and completing sales and purchases, and others communicating with people outside the country to send shipments of gold-plated metal pieces, and others to receive the pieces and deliver them to the dealer and receive the money.

The case was referred to the Public Prosecution for legal action against the offenders.

Colonel Abu Al Zoud called on members of the public to avoid dealing with anonymous persons who are not licensed to do business, adding that members of the public must deal with licensed stores only.

He also called on the public to report street vendors through the channels provided by the police, including the “ guard” service available through the smart app of the Sharjah Police, the police website or through the hotline 80040.