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UK Police trail Tiger extortionists

COLOMBO: British Law Enforcement Authorities have requested their Sri Lankan counterparts for the full details of five Sri Lankan youth charged with kidnapping a Tamil youth employed at a filling station in Kent.

All five youth, allegedly involved in fund raising activities for the LTTE, are in remand custody.

British Police say there are at least five other suspects at large, who have either played a role in the installation of sophisticated credit card cloning equipment and the abduction and kidnapping of a youth named Bavananthan Thirunavukarasu.

The kidnapping and subsequent rescuing of the victim by Police has blown the lid off a sophisticated criminal network involving large scale fraud through credit card cloning at petrol stations.

This gang is also believed to be involved in criminal activities including kidnapping and armed violence for their fund raising mission.

The background to the kidnapping episode, the British Law Enforcing Authorities explain, originated five weeks ago when Thirunavukarasu was approached at gunpoint by several Tamil men.

He was at the filling station where he works at Green Street in Orpington, Kent.

The gang ordered him to allow the installation of a sophisticated credit card cloning machine. He was ordered to engage in the swiping of customers’ credit cards and allow the gang access to the equipment as and when they required it.

Thirunavukarasu was also threatened with death if he spoke about the equipment to anyone.

The victim however did not want to be involved in the illegal operation and removed the device the following day which irked his would be captors. He also resigned from the filling station.

On March 21, 2007 at 7.30 p.m. Thirunavukarusu received a phone call from his friend, Muraliharan, asking him to meet him at Burgess Road, East Ham.

His friend arrived with another male, whom Thirunavukarasu recognised as Venthan, who threatened him at the petrol station earlier.

Thirunavukarasu was forced to the LIDL store rear where there were another eight to 10 Tamil youths. He was forcibly restrained and hit on the head by two of his captors who wore masks.

Venthan had told Thirunavukarasu that he had destroyed their clonings device worth $13,000 and that he now owed them $20,000 for the device and a fine.

When the victim stated that he couldn’t raise the money a Blue M-reg BMW arrived after Venthan phoned someone.

He was taken blindfolded to an unknown address, believed to be somewhere in Croydon.

The victim was held for about 36 hours during which numerous demands were made from his friends and brother.

The youth had a gun held at his head and was also threatened with knives and a sword and constantly beaten. The hostage’s brother, received phone calls demanding a ransom on pain of death to his sibling and he approached the Police.

British police arrested the five youths at a restaurant in London.

 

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