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Man cuts losses in Singer scam.

Byline: Arab News

AQIQ: The local press has been in a tizzy of late over an odd scam going on in some Saudi markets involving antique Singer sewing machines and a drummed up story about the existence of a mythical substance called "red mercury" that - depending on which con man you ask, either helps you find gold, wards off evil jinni, or is a key and highly prized ingredient in making nuclear bombs. Al-Madinah daily reported yesterday that a man in Aqiq, near the western city of Baha, lost SR3,000 in his pitch to make a fortune by buying on old sewing machine. According to the report, the man had hoped to re-sell the old stitcher for SR100,000 after buying it for SR5,000. But it as too late - the local media had begun to cover the phenomenon and the number of buyers was dropping off fast. He did manage to find another sucker willing to pay SR2,000 for the machine, so the man managed to cut his losses. References to red mercury have been around since the 1980s, with some of the first references to the material appearing in the Russian press. There are various theories as to the origin of this mythical and magical substance, including that it might be cinnabar, a mercuric sulphide that produced the red pigment vermillion, or that it's simply any mercury made in Russia during the Cold War era when "red" was used as a euphemism for communism. Red mercury might also refer to a red-colored ballotechnic mercury compound that is explosive under the right conditions. Whatever the case may be: Singer sewing machines do not contain any compounds that will find gold, fight jinni, make nukes or otherwise provide a path to quick riches.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Apr 17, 2009
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