Swindlers on the prowl in parts of Alappuzha

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Alappuzha: Several Keralites have had bitter experiences as they tried on amulets or good luck charms to have a windfall. They have time and again burnt their fingers as they had a go at superstitions, but there seems to be no way of stopping it and of late a few cheating cases have been reported from parts of Alappuzha district.

In one fraud reported from Vallikunnam in Alappuzha district, one Shyju from Aluva, landed in trouble as he sought from his friends a rare sand boa (locally known as iruthala moori) in a bid to bring good fortune. The other day Shyju, who was called to the Kayamkulam railway station along with a friend, was taken to another location by the swindlers. After having food, they got rid of the friend on the sly. They then took Shyju to an isolated spot and sprayed chilli on his eyes. He was also assaulted and they fled with his money.

The police have arrested three men for cheating Shyju off his money after promising him the rare snake. The arrested were Deepu, 26, of Mavelikkara; Anoop, 25, of Kayamkulam; and Sulfikar, 25, of Peringala.

Shyju had complained that he was robbed off Rs 1 lakh by them.

Based on Shyju's complaint, the police checked the CCTV images to identify the accused. The police could recover Rs 86,000 from them; they had spent the rest of the amount.

The accused were presented in Kayamkulam court.

The double-headed snake

Sand boa is a nonvenomous snake that spends most of the time in burrows in the soil. They cannot survive in warm environment and die in less humid conditions.

An endangered species, the sand boa has been included in the fourth schedule of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The blunt, rounded tail gives the snake a double-headed appearance that has spawned several superstitions and the resulting illegal trade. The snakes have small eyes, a cylindrical body and grow up to 60cm in length. They mostly venture out only in the dark and try to hide at any hint of danger. They would attack only in extreme situations.

Beware if building a house!

Another set of fraudsters are targeting newly-constructed houses and gullible housewives.

The scamsters first identify locations where new houses are being built and collect details about the inhabitants from the local people. They go to these houses when the women are alone. One such fraudster told a housewife at Thannermukkom that the lorry laden with bricks was lying nearby with a flat tyre while proceeding to the site of her under-construction house. He demanded money to pay off the lorry fare. The housewife believed the tale and gave money to him. It was only after he fled that the others came to know of the fraud.

In another instance at Muhamma, a man turned up at a house, and said he had come to take the unused cement bags. He assured the housewife that he had checked with her husband and given him the money. The woman even got the help of a neighbour to load the cement packets onto the auto. She came to know of the fraud only when her husband returned!

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