The incident occurred following an advertisement on the sale of foreign currency that the man posted online 

Crime: Thimphu police detained a 26 year-old man from Lhuentse for larceny and deception after he robbed a person of USD 8,000 on April 1.

According to police the incident occurred following an advertisement posted on social media by a man from Namseling, Thimphu. The man, on March 31, posted online that he had USD 8,000 for sale.

He received a call from an interested buyer who wanted to buy the dollars. The buyer, who identified himself as a foreign ministry official, asked the seller to come to the National Assembly building the next morning on April 1. The seller met the man at the National Assembly parking at around 11.50am. After they negotiated the exchange rate at Nu 65 to one dollar, the man took the dollars and said he would return with the cash. The man told the seller that he would collect the cash from his “dasho” and entered the building while the seller waited outside as he was in casual dress.

Police said that when the man failed to return after waiting for about an hour, the seller called him on his mobile which was switched off. The seller then went home to change and returned to the foreign ministry to inquire about the buyer. However, none of the officials had any idea about the suspect nor was he spotted anywhere in the building.

Failing to locate the suspect, the seller lodged a police complaint at around 6pm on the same day. Police said that the investigation team visited the scene and checked the CCTV footage, but the images were found to be blurry and the suspect was not recognised.

The suspect was later identified as a freelance driver from Lhuentse and traced to Bumthang. The suspect was arrested on April 5 and escorted to Thimphu the next day.

According to police, the suspect confessed to the crime. Police seized USD 1,500, Nu 80,500 and INR 27,000 from the suspect and a second-hand Maruti Alto that he bought with the money.

Police Chief Brigadier Kipchu Namgyal cautioned people that sale and purchase of foreign currency on social media other than financial institutions and authorised money changers is illegal as per the foreign exchange regulations.

“The Royal Bhutan Police would also like to advise people to be cautious of such modus operandi by the miscreants,” he said, hoping that the incident would serve as a lesson for all.

Kinga Dema