Sri Lankan Tamils were largely behind credit card skimming crimes that had cost about 6000 West Australians more than $6.5 million from EFTPOS machines, Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich said yesterday.
And there are concerns that funds raised in such operations could be diverted to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers and listed by a number of countries as a terrorist organisation.
Speaking at the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors conference, Mr Anticich identified skimming crimes involving EFTPOS and automatic teller machines and identity theft as emerging crimes committed by organised crime outfits.
Since December, WA Police have launched two major investigations into EFTPOS skimming involving two syndicates in Perth. Seven people have been charged and are before the courts, with one of the accused wanted in Canada over similar charges .
“This form of skimming is predominantly perpetrated globally by persons of Tamil ethnic origin,” Mr Anticich said yesterday.“OF THE 20 PERSONS ARRESTED FOR OFFENCES REGARDING THIS CRIME TYPE IN AUSTRALIA, 19 ARE CONFIRMED TO BE OF TAMIL ORIGIN"
In Canada and Britain, members of the Sri Lankan community were compelled by Tamils to participate in credit card skimming operations under threats of violence to family members who remained in the war-torn nation.
In those cases, funds gathered by the skimmers were diverted to the LTTE.
The Tamils waged a bloody civil war against the Sri Lankan army but was crushed in May last year. Despite the military defeat, security experts believe that Tamils continue to raise funds across the world and may one day re-ignite its terror campaign for a racist Tamil state.