Russian police detains two over 'magic potion' cash scam

14th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

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

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