UAE: Hundreds arrested in all-night operation as international cybercrime syndicates dismantled

A telesales agent told Khaleej Times that they 'collectively defrauded hundreds of people daily'


Mazhar Farooqui

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Photo for illustrative purpose only. — AFP file
Photo for illustrative purpose only. — AFP file

Published: Sat 29 Jun 2024, 4:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Jun 2024, 9:47 AM

Major cybercrime syndicates were dismantled in an all-night operation across the UAE, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of cybercriminals and the rescue of numerous individuals.

The operation follows an investigation by Khaleej Times, uncovering the racket.

One of the largest operations took place in Ajman on Wednesday, where special forces raided the city's Grand Mall and several residential towers used for cybercrimes. The all-night operation extended into the early morning hours, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of suspects. Investigations into their roles are ongoing, and those involved will be referred to the public prosecutor.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

A similar crackdown was conducted across locations in Dubai recently, with the largest raid at Rahaba Residences in Dubailand.

The cyber syndicates entrapped thousands of individuals, including many South Asians and Africans.

Modus operandi

The Khaleej Times investigation revealed a strict hierarchy within the scam centres, with telesales agents at the bottom and "killers"—expert hackers—at the top.

A telesales agent told Khaleej Times they were referred to by their handlers as "opening batsmen."

"We’re the ones who would make the first call, initiate conversation, and assign people simple tasks like posting Google reviews and liking YouTube videos," she explained. "Our handlers monitored our calls to ensure we followed the script that appeared on our computer screen."

As trust was gained and the involvement of people deepened, they were ushered into a larger Telegram group with hundreds of participants. "We collectively defrauded hundreds of people daily, and when our illicit gains surpassed Dh100,000, pre-recorded applause and cheers echoed through the room," one handler explained.

Khaleej Times found that the syndicates recruited individuals from Asia and Africa under false pretences. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, these cybercrime operations were primarily based in several Asian countries. Crackdowns in these countries forced the syndicates to seek new havens. The operation marks a significant step in combating cybercrime in the region and rescuing those trapped in inhumane conditions.

Authorities are yet to issue a statement, and investigations are ongoing.


More news from UAE