Fake bomb detectors still in use


The fraudster Jim McCormick who rebranded novelty golf ball detectors as bomb detectors, in a fraud worth more than £55m, was last week sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Here’s what the judge said:

“The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category,” he told McCormick, who now stands to have assets worth millions of pounds confiscated.

Hundreds were used in Iraq and it is possible that wounded Iraqis may be able to claim damages. The devices were also sold to Pakistan.

Here’s how The News in Pakistan reported it:

A source has told The News that the crooked businessman is believed to have sold fake equipment worth millions to Pakistan as well in the last 10 years. When contacted by The News, Pakistani security officials sought more time to find details about the nature of the equipment bought by Pakistan. It will be interesting to see whether the fake bomb detectors were bought by Pakistan’s armed forces or the police services and who facilitated this deal.

You don’t need particularly well-placed sources to confirm that these devices have been in use in Pakistan. You just need to have travelled through Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport in the past few years, where you would have seen police officers walking slowly up and down lines of traffic concentrating hard at the golf ball detector in their hand.

I am writing this blog from the airport departure lounge and, as you can see from the photo above, the devices are still in use. (It’s not a great snap, but best I could do.)


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