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World's first 419 revenge killing?

Czech police hold man after Nigerian Embassy shooting

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The Czech Republic may have become the scene of the first 419-fraud revenge killing.

Michael Lekara Wayid, 50, Nigeria's consul in the Czech Republic, was shot dead at the embassy yesterday morning. The embassy's 37-year-old receptionist was shot in the hand during the melee which began after a suspect opened fire after visiting the embassy to discuss an unspecified business matter yesterday morning.

A 72-year-old Czech man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, the BBC reports.

Unconfirmed, and thus far sketchy reports, suggest the unnamed suspect was a victim of a 419 (AKA advanced fee) fraud.

The scam called 419, after the relevant section of Nigeria's criminal code, begins with offers of sums beyond the dreams of avarice in exchange for use of a Western bank account.

It's not about raising a bank account, though. Those foolish enough to respond to the scheme soon find there's a host of problems in moving the money, which is supposedly held with in a secret safety deposit safe or similar. Various fees and bribes are requested from the victim.

The scam, and the sums being paid out, escalates until an attempt is made to coax the victim to travel abroad to another country, where he's vulnerable, and where the police don't care. Once there fraudsters attempt to bilk their victim for yet more cash.

A variation on this theme is to hold aforesaid victim hostage until large sums of money are handed over. In 2001, a Nigerian gang lured a British businessman to South Africa and then held him for ransom. He escaped only because he was allowed to make a phone call and was able to alert his wife by speaking in his native Polish.

The scam is explained in greater detail on the Nigeria - the 419 Coalition Web site and on another anti-419 fraud site, which warns people have been "kidnapped and even murdered" in furtherance of the fraud. ®

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