Indonesian Arrested in Tsunami Scam
Seoul. South Korean police said on Monday that they had arrested an Indonesian woman for her role in a scam related to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster in March last year.
Police have also asked Interpol to arrest three other suspects, including a 33-year-old Malaysian woman, a Nigerian and a man thought to be American.
The Malaysian woman last year sent an e-mail to a South Korean man through a pen pal website, claiming she worked for a bank in her country.
She said a Japanese client with a $4.2 million deposit at the bank had been killed in the disaster, along with his entire family.
She suggested that the South Korean claim the money by posing as a relative of the deceased and sharing it with her.
The police said the woman then obtained 110 million won ($96,000) from the Korean. She claimed the money was needed to forge bank and family documents.
But the Korean, impatient at a lack of progress, reported the affair to the South Korean police in April this year.
He invited an Indonesian go-between in the scam, a 33-year-old woman, to Seoul with the promise of more money, and the police arrested her on July 4.
“This is the first time that we arrested someone in a fraud taking advantage of Japan’s tsunami disaster, but we are getting more reports about similar attempts these days,” said Kim Gyoung-hee, a police investigator.
He added that the Korean man would not be arrested because he had not committed a crime.
Some 19,000 people died after the disaster on March 11, 2011.