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Colombo: At least 12 Indian nationals suspected to be involved in cybercrimes were arrested and their equipment seized during a raid in central Sri Lanka, a media report said on Tuesday, thus taking the total of similar arrests to more than 70 over the last week. In their continued crackdown on foreigners who come on tourist visas and indulge in suspected criminal activities, Sri Lankan police also arrested 30 Chinese nationals for engaging in a crypto-currency racket.

Sri Lanka Police seize laptops, over 50 phones 

Police said they carried out the raid on information received by Senior DIG Central Province Lalith Pathinayake and arrested the organised group of 12 Indian nationals suspected to be responsible for cybercrimes from a house at Halloluwa in Kandy, about 120-odd km east of Colombo, late on Monday night, news portal Daily Mirror said. The Kandy Crime Investigations Unit seized 22 desktop computers, four laptops, more than 50 sophisticated cellular phones of advanced technology, eleven ATM cards and a host of other equipment, the Daily Mirror said.

Investigations revealed that they had rented the house for Rs 3,00,000 per month to carry out their secret activities behind closed doors. “They are suspected of running an international-level betting business through the internet, among other computer crimes and they are being investigated into,” the news portal said quoting the police.

200 foreigners arrested 

Earlier last week, Sri Lankan police arrested at least 200 foreigners, the majority of them Indians, for allegedly engaging in online financial scams. The Criminal Investigations Department also found that funds obtained through such frauds have been deposited in bank accounts in the UK, Dubai and India. There were Chinese, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Nepali nationals among those arrested but a majority of them were Indian nationals, police said, adding, about 400 computers used by the suspects are being subject to investigation.

On Friday, local media quoted police spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa, who said some 60 Indians were arrested on Thursday from the Colombo suburbs of Madiwela and Battaramulla and the western coastal town of Negombo. The CID had conducted simultaneous raids in these areas leading to the seizure of 135 mobile phones and 57 laptops. Meanwhile, another media report on Tuesday said, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Kochchikade Police arrested 205 foreigners, 136 of them Indians, who came to Sri Lanka on tourist visas.

Online gambling

These foreign nationals, involved in various illegal activities, including online scams, were arrested near Kochchikade and Battaramulla, both on the outskirts of Colombo, a report in news portal Daily News said but did not give any details about when they were arrested or their current legal status. Investigations have also revealed that they have been engaged in online gambling related to the T20 Cricket World Cup series.

Earlier on June 28, a group of Chinese nationals, who arrived on tourist visas and stayed in a hotel in Negombo, the northern outskirts of Colombo, were arrested for engaging in a crypto-currency racket. “Thirty Chinese nationals, including three women, were arrested during the raid conducted by the CID,” Daily News added.

(With inputs from agency)

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