Dexterity or Fraud
Dexterity or Fraud?
New Times Investigative Piece
Take a look at the photo above. What do you think is happeing in this picture? There are several people, standing in a group on one of Copenhagen's busiest walking streets. Are they old friends meeting up?
Are they dancing in the street? Maybe they're just out for a normal day of Saturday shopping. Unfortunately, these men are not doing any of these things. They are actually con-artists trying to get your money from you as you stroll down the street going about your day.
Who are these people and what are they doing?
They are foreigners and they are cheating people who pass by in the street. They are using a game to con people to get their money. It is both wrong and illegal because they are taking a lot of money from people through trickery.
Every year many tourists come to Copenhagen. After watching or playing this game, some have bad memories, especially if they play and lose. Unfortunately these con-men are giving Copenhagen a bad name.
How does the game work?
They play with three empty match boxes and a small ball made of paper. They make a big show of putting the ball under one of the match boxes. Then they tell people to watch carefully while they quickly shuffle them about. Then they invite people in the crowd to make a bet on where the ball is, but a person will always lose because whichever box they point to, the con men manage to always show that it is empty.
They also use friends to trick people into playing. This friend appears to be a normal passer-by and he gets drawn into the game. His role is to play and win, and make it look like an easy way to bet and get rich.
How do they do it?
They are very quick. As they lift the match box a little, they use their little finger to snatch up the ball and then hide it in the palm of their hand. As they lift the box higher they show you that there is nothing under the box – and you loose the bet.
Have they been caught by the police?
They have been caught several times and this affects the way they operate. Now when they want to play, they have at least two colleagues standing nearby to act as look-outs.
How to avoid losing your money:
People shouldn’t believe them and they should avoid playing with these card sharks.
I spoke with one young man who had lost. He said, “I saw him put the ball under the box, but then there was nothing there. I don’t know how he did it, how he took it but suddenly the paper ball was not there. I had to pay up, I had no choice.”
By Ali Reza