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Vietnamese man arrested over ‘black copper’ sale scams, demanding $75bn from 2 companies

Wednesday, December 23, 2020, 08:47 GMT+7
Vietnamese man arrested over ‘black copper’ sale scams, demanding $75bn from 2 companies
A police officer reads the arrest warrant at the house of Kim Anh in Tra Vinh Province, Vietnam in this supplied photo.

Police in Tra Vinh Province, located in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, have arrested a man for duping people into buying ‘black copper,’ including attempts to trick two companies into purchasing the copper for a combined US$75 billion.

A source close to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper confirmed on Monday that the provincial Department of Public Security had apprehended and initiated legal proceedings against Kim Anh, 53, who resides in Phuoc Hung Commune, Tra Cu District, for fraud and appropriation of property.

Police investigation showed that a Tra Vinh man named Thach Khone asked Thach Ngoc Tra, who also resides in the province, to help him purchase ‘black copper,’ also known as meteorite stone, in 2012.

Khone promised to pay Tra for arranging the deal.

In 2014, Tra was introduced to Anh, who claimed to have a meteorite stone that was given to him by his grandfather. 

Anh said that the stone was kept in a secret place and refused to show Tra directly, but instead let him watch a video clip of the object.

In the video, a black metal object was kept inside a plastic jar filled with water and was able to move up and down on its own.

Tra believed it was a meteorite stone and told Khone about it, who then contacted a person in Ho Chi Minh City for confirmation.

Tra later asked Anh to show him the stone, but the latter refused, explaining that the stone was buried inside his yard and could only be dug up after the buyer could visit the house several times and give it offerings.

During the first ritual, Anh told Tra to give him VND30 million ($1,300) to buy offerings.

Anh then made up different excuses to delay the trade and tricked Tra into giving him more money.

Kim Anh is held at the police station in Tra Vinh Province, Vietnam in this supplied photo.

Kim Anh is held at the police station in Tra Vinh Province, Vietnam in this supplied photo.

By 2015, Tra had given Anh more than VND1 billion ($43,200).

After Tra told Khone he had run out of money, the latter directly contacted Anh and demanded that Anh give him the meteorite stone.

Anh said that the stone needed to be stored in a safe place, requiring Khone to purchase a new house for him and his family to live in and keep the object.

Khone mobilized over VND10 billion ($434,400) and gave it to Anh.

After finding out he had been scammed, Khone reported the case to local police.

Officers eventually discovered that Khone was not the only victim of Anh’s scams.

Anh previously signed a contract with a business in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak regarding the sale of 25 kilograms of ‘black copper’ at $1.2 billion per kilogram, translating to $30 billion in total.

The buyer agreed to pay Anh VND600 million ($26,000) in advance to check the stone.

The firm found out it was a fraud after Anh presented 14 rocks kept inside a bottle of lubricant oil.

Anh also attempted to trick another company in Ho Chi Minh City into buying ‘black copper’ at $1.8 billion per kilogram, or a combined $45 billion.

He was arrested in the southern province of An Giang as he was about to escape to Cambodia.

Further investigation is ongoing.

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