Figure this: A sting in the tale

Some lawyers have complained that Mahmood has sometimes broken the law without clear public interest justification.

Updated: January 18, 2014 11:11 pm

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has launched a helpline number to deal with corruption. CM Arvind Kejriwal has urged people to record video or audio evidence and inform the anti-corruption department. Stings are employed commonly around the world — by both law enforcement and media organisations — except in Sweden, where these are banned. One of the big concerns surrounding these operations is whether or not they constitute entrapment. In Australia, for example, a move to allow federal law enforcement officers to be targeted by stings in order to see if they would take bribes, sell drugs or leak information, in March 2012, didn’t amount to much.

United Kingdom
An undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood is better known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’ because he often poses as a sheikh to obtain stories. He spent 20 years working for the now defunct British tabloid News of the World. The organisation claimed he had brought over 100 criminals to justice, though the real number is 94. Some lawyers have complained that Mahmood has sometimes broken the law without clear public interest justification. His critics have said that he “sees himself as above British law, using entrapment in many cases”.

United States
In 2012, an undercover cop masquerading as a student orchestrated a drug bust in a Temecula Valley Unified School District high school in California by befriending and manipulating an autistic boy into obtaining small amounts of marijuana.

In November 2010, the arrest of a Somali-born teenager in Portland, Orgeon, threw the spotlight on the government’s use of stings to capture terrorism suspects. A naturalised US citizen, 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud was accused of trying to detonate a car bomb at a crowded Christmas ceremony. His arrest raised questions of entrapment as it seemed law enforcement officials pushed him into becoming “operational”.
Operation Fast and Furious was a botched Mexican gunrunning sting conducted from 2009 to 2011 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The plan was to let intermediaries to Mexican drug cartels buy some 2,000 automatic weapons and other firearms from Arizona dealers; the authorities would then trace the guns and use this information to staunch the flow of guns to Mexico. Instead, ATF lost track of about 1,700 of the guns, and two were later found at the site of the shootout on the Arizona-Mexico border in which a Mexican gang killed US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
A gang in St Petersburg, posing as police officers, replete with fake identification, handcuffs and forged letterheads, has extorted thousands of rubles from men looking to have sex with boys after setting up meetings using fake social media accounts. In 2013, they monetised 30 sting operations against potential paedophiles, a tactic which became infamous after the harassment methods of the anti-gay vigilante group Occupy Paedophilia were widely reported. Unlike Occupy Paedophilia, which has published videos of its members forcing the gay men they hope to “cure” to drink urine, this gang appears to be mostly interested in money.

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