Maputo - Mozambican police have announced the arrest of four South Africans, accused of being part of a criminal network that specialises in cloning credit and debit cards.

The four were named as Phica Tshabalala, 32, Ntuthuko Ndlovu, 29, Sbusiso Nkiza, 35, and Asanda Nkimana, 27.

They were found in possession of 37 cards from various banks, eight cellphones, a laptop computer and a vehicle.

The arrests follow warnings from the Bank of Mozambique that cloning had been detected.

The bank urged cardholders to take particular care of their cards when using them to make purchases or to withdraw money at ATMs.

Maputo City Police Command spokesman Arnaldo Chefo said the suspects had been detained in Maputo last week thanks to the collaboration of one of the banks.

“They had been making withdrawals and transfers in a commercial bank, and thanks to the suspicions of the bank, we were able to arrest the first two in a hotel, and they led us to the other members of the group,” said Chefo.

He said the four were specialists in credit and debit card fraud, and transferred the money they stole to banks abroad.

But when the four men spoke to reporters, they denied having anything to do with the cloning of bank cards.

“These cards don’t belong to us,” they said. “We don’t know how they ended up in our bags. We only recognise our personal cards.” - The Star