Russian police detains two over 'magic potion' cash scam
Two Cameroon nationals extorted 35,000 US dollars from Central Asian migrants in Moscow by touting a "magic potion" that promised to multiply bank-notes, Russian police said Thursday.
Russian police detained the men, aged 26 and 27, after they tricked two Tajik migrants into handing over the cash with a promise to triple the number of bank-notes using magic, a police source told the Interfax news agency.
"They promised to make 105,000 dollars for the Tajik migrants with the help of magic and potions," the police source said.
In a similar incident in February, Cameroon nationals were detained in the Siberian region of Altai for selling migrants a "magic" potion that they vowed had only to be greased on bills to immediately multiply their value.
Russian lawmakers this month backed a bill to rein in the country's flourishing industry of self-styled wizards and psychic healers by banning advertising and requiring them to acquire licenses.
Belief in the paranormal in Russia has enjoyed a revival since the atheist Soviet system began crumbling in the late 1980s, when several psychic healers were even given airtime on national television to broadcast their powers.
© 2010 AFP