The Sri Lankan Police Department is making arrangements to cooperate with the Maldivian authorities to crackdown on the escalating rate of cyber-crimes that is currently taking place in the South Asian region.
This move comes in the backdrop of recent investigations revealing that several Maldivian nationals have been involved in an organized cyber-crime network.
A senior Sri Lankan police officer speaking to Haveeru on grounds of anonymity said that that a recent investigation had revealed that they have received information regarding a group of Maldivian nationals being involved in online scams in Sri Lanka.
He said that the Maldivian nationals are suspected to be part of a larger network which is believed to be run in several South Asian countries.
“Currently we are conducting further investigations into the online criminal activities that are taking place. We are planning on working closely with the Maldivian Police to crackdown on these operations. Our Investigations have revealed that some of these operations are related to online financial scams where unsuspecting internet users have been defrauded by giving their credit card numbers or by making online donations,” he said.
“Investigations have shown us that these crimes are not only related to one particular country, but are being run on an international scale. Plans are being made to send a police team to Maldives to conduct a joint investigation into cyber-crime. We also hope to partner up with other South Asian countries,” he said.
It is learnt that the said group which is suspected to be residing in Colombo has also been receiving backing from Sri Lankan and other South Asian associates to carry out such operations.
In a recent visit made to Sri Lanka by Maldivian Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz, the issue of cyber-crime in Maldives had been addressed when he met top Sri Lankan defence officials in Colombo.
During several meetings held in Colombo, Police Commissioner Riyaz mentioned that the Maldivian authorities are currently probing into several cases related to cyber-crimes such as hacking, internet financial scams and identity theft. During his meeting he requested assistance to conduct a joint strategy to counter cyber-crime.
Previously, Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department arrested 17 Chinese nationals suspected to be engaged in a telephone and internet scam in Sri Lanka early this May.
These Chinese suspects were part of a larger cyber-crime network which expanded from Mainland China to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji and Sri Lanka. Police suspect that Bangladesh and Maldives may have also been used as centers for the operation.
Investigations had revealed that the ring leaders bought or rented network servers and equipment to set up the host computer and circuits in Taiwan.
They were said to have been divided into several major groups, including communications, network maintenance, and specialists in withdrawing, transferring and laundering money which was a global operation that had run into millions of dollars.