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Dutch police arrest 111 West Africans in 419 clampdown

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Dutch police have arrested 111 suspected 419 scammers. The arrests on Saturday follow the end of a seven-month investigation - dubbed Operation Apollo, AFP reports.

Eight of those detained were carrying false papers. Many others among the group of West African (mainly Nigerian) suspects are reckoned to have entered the Netherlands illegally or to have overstayed their permitted stay.

The alleged scammers are suspected of running a series of lottery-based (AKA 419-lite) scams. Prospective victims of these frauds are first informed by email that they have won fictitious lottery prizes. Victims are then tricked into handing over money-up front to cover processing fees or other fictitious expenses. The promised windfalls never materialise and dupes are left nursing their losses.

Investigators in the Netherlands estimate that 2,000 internet con-men are active in the country. ®

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