KOCHI: It is known that drug traffickers adopt different methods to deceive the police and other enforcement agencies and get away with their deals. However, agencies were surprised to find that popular online gaming apps are being used as a major tool for the purpose.
‘Free Fire’ game, which is similar to the banned PUBG, is the favourite among traffickers to fix the deals because of its clandestine features. The enforcement officers realised it after a 23-year-old brought to a deaddiction centre told them how it could be done smartly. The biggest advantage is that the identity of the messenger at the other end is never revealed.
“The advantage of the app is that the traffickers do not come under suspicion as the dealings are done in the guise of playing the game. They can chat with multiple persons and the messages could not be retrieved easily,” pointed out Jiyas Jamal, a cyber law professional based in Kochi.
A top police officer said, “In the gaming apps, the players can create a closed group and the messages would be shared among only the members. “They can share the rate and venue for handing over the drug through these chats in the closed group. The parents or other family members and even police never suspect their activities,” he added.
Free Fire is an online shooter and survival game that features a fierce battle among multiple players. The players aim to stay safe as long as possible for survival. This game is also free, compatible even on low-end smartphones and can be played with friends. The mobile game, which became a big hit during the Covid-induced lockdown, has over 80 million active users across the globe.
“The traffickers can involve multiple persons in the guise of playing the game and can share their deals confidentially. The drug traffickers and others earlier used WhatsApp, Telegram and other social networking sites and shifted to online gaming apps after police and other agencies have put a surveillance on these sites.
The monitoring of gaming apps is not much practical and it’s hard to retrieve the chats and voice messages. They communicate using codes on this platform,” added Jiyas. State Excise Commissioner S Aananthakrishnan said they would concentrate on this area too. “Already, we are monitoring the social networking sites to curb the drug deals. We will now focus on the gaming apps also,” he said.
‘Free Fire’ game
‘Free Fire’ game is the favourite among traffickers to fix the deals because of its clandestine features. The biggest advantage is that the identity of the messenger at the other end is never revealed.