TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Man Charged in UK Tsunami Death Email Probe

Man Charged in UK Tsunami Death Email Probe

Lisa Minter (
Mon, 3 Jan 2005 10:29:37 EST

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Monday they had charged a
man with sending hoax emails to relatives of people missing since the
Asian tsunami, saying their loved ones had been confirmed dead.

The hoaxer, claiming to be from the "Foreign Office Bureau" in
Thailand, targeted people who had placed appeals for information about
relatives and friends on the Web site of TV station Sky News.

Police said a 40-year-old man from Lincolnshire in northeastern
England was charged with malicious communication and causing a public

He was due to appear at a London court on Monday.

On Sunday, officers seized computer equipment in a joint operation by
London's Metropolitan Police and Lincolnshire police.

All the messages came from one bogus email address, .

"The British government would not use email to convey news of the
death of a loved one," police said. "Anyone receiving such an email
should treat it with utmost caution."

Sky News said it was "disgusted" at the abuse of the message board on
its Web site and had contacted police as soon as it was alerted to the

The death toll from the tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 9.0
earthquake off western Indonesia a week ago, stood at almost 130,000
on Monday, including at least 40 Britons.

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