Iraqi-origin Brit beaten, robbed by fake hair transplant group in Istanbul
Çetin Aydın – ISTANBUL
An Iraqi-origin British citizen, who arrived in Istanbul to undergo “VIP hair transplantation,” has been beaten and robbed by a group that claimed they would operate the transplant surgery.
The British man, identified only by the initials A.H., preferred Istanbul for the surgery as the city is reputed to be one of the most significant hubs for hair transplant tourism.
A.H., 55, who works in an international money transfer company in London, met with an Iraqi living in Turkey through the internet for the VIP hair transplantation.
The Iraqi in Istanbul, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, had said: “A.H. can look younger after undergoing a hair transplant surgery in a clinic that serves only distinguished persons,” adding that there are people he knows who could perform the operation.
Being persuaded by the Iraqi citizen, A.H. got on a plane from London to arrive in Istanbul on July 17 and was greeted by four people at the Sabiha Gökçen Airport, before being placed in a luxurious hotel in Şişli’s Elmadağ.
After resting for a couple of hours in the hotel room, two people told A.H. that they were going to take him to the health clinic for the surgery.
A.H., who thought that he was being taken to a private health clinic, was instead taken to a house in Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa district where his hands and feet were tied as soon as he entered the house.
After being beaten, he was robbed of his 5,000 euros and 1,600 Swiss Francs, as well as two expensive watches and two cellphones at gunpoint, before being thrown to a street at around 5 a.m. on July 18.
A.H. then got on a taxi to head to Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport to return to London. Seeing police officers at the airport, he described what he experienced and was taken to hospital by the police.
Police started to examine footage obtained from the airport and the hotel and determined the license plate of the car that took A.H. from the hotel.
The car was then found in the Zeytinburnu district and police laid an ambush, a couple of hours before detaining a man named Basri İleri, who arrived in the area to get the car.
The money stolen from A.H. was found on İleri, while another suspect, Ömer Akın, was also detained in the house where he was hiding.
While the search to apprehend Hamdullah Yelboğa, another suspect, is ongoing, the authorities are trying to determine the identity of the Iraqi who tricked A.H. into coming to Istanbul through the internet.
A.H. thanked Turkish authorities for busting the gang in 16 hours.