Portugal´s only registered non-profit crime prevention association providing dedicated information and support services to the community
11 October 2018


Although we are now well into October anyone out and about will notice the large number of tourists still here, particular in Lisbon and the Algarve. 

The continuing good weather and the popularity of Portugal is certainly drawing tourists here from many different countries. Long may it continue.

One of the main factors that people consider in planning a holiday is safety and security. A survey undertaken in 2015 by ABTA the British Association of Travel and Tour operators found that this was in fact the most important factor, ahead of sunshine, good food etc.

Portugal is a very safe place to visit, and is in fact the 4th most peaceful country in the world according to the 2018 Global Peace Index. However, with a very troubled world we cannot take this for granted. As such we must therefore all do our best to maintain Portugal as a place where visitors feel safe and have an enjoyable stay.

With this in mind and in accordance with our protocol with the Ministry of Interior, we have taken the opportunity to further develop our Safe Communities Algarve website with the creation of pages covering safety and security focusing on tourism. It is aimed that the information provided will help tourists visiting here, as well as residents planning a holiday overseas. 

The new section, comprising nine pages, can be found on our home page in the section "For Tourists" on the main menu bar.  One or two pages are under development but these should be completed in the next few days. 

Another new additional measure we have taken to get key messages across, be it crime prevention or civil protection is the use of Twitter, the social messaging tool. We are now using this in addition to our Facebook page to help keep people informed.Please follow us on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/SafeComPortugal .

Safe Communities is currently planning several seminars concerning tourism safety and it is hoped that we will be able to give more details in our next newsletter. These are planned for the Algarve. In addition we will be making presentations at a further four events over the next months so this is a rather busy period.

Lastly many congratulations to Dra. Ana Silva, the Municipal Vet of Monchique, who has won a national award for innovation in respect of her Safe animals Project which she has created. Dra. Ana is a Board member of Safe Communities Portugal and we congratulate her on her well deserved award. More in this newsletter.

We are a voluntary association and rely on donations if you feel we helped you in any way please consider making a donation,  which will enable us to continue, and indeed further improve our services. The details of how to make a donation are at the end of this newsletter or to our PayPal by simply making a donation here.

We thank all our sponsors for your help in enabling us to continue to do the work that we do. Thank you: Portugal Property, IBEX Insure, EuroFinesco, CerroNovo, Algarve Homes and Avalon Funeral Plans for sponsoring this new sletter.

To learn more about how to sponsor a newsletter by becoming one of our supporters please contact us on 913045093 or at   info@safecommunitiesportugal.com

David Thomas
Safe Communities Portugal


Officials charged in connection with fallen tree that killed 13 people and injured 49 in Madeira. 

A Councillor of the Funchal City Council, Idalina Perestrelo, responsible for the Urban Environment, Green Spaces and Public Spaces, and Francisco Andrade, head of the Urban and Green Spaces Division of the same Municipality, have been charged with 13 crimes of negligent homicide and 24 crimes of offences to "physical integrity" by negligence, in the context of the process related to the fall of a tree, in August last year, during the celebration of the feasts of Our Lady of the Mountain, in Funchal, Madeira.

Paulo Cafôfo, mayor of Funchal, who was accused during the investigation phase, will not go to trial, due to "insufficient evidence".

According to the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP), who announced the charges on 3rd October, the councillor and the head of Division "had the duty, in the performance of their duties (and of the services they supervised), to ensure the maintenance and care of the gardens and trees of the public space of Funchal ", including the oak that eventually fell to the beginning of that tragic afternoon.

The Prosecutors office added, "the duty of knowledge by the defendants of the source of risk that constituted a hundred-year-old tree appeared, evidently, over time, to show signs of being in poor condition." "It was their responsibility to take the appropriate measures to keep the tree in good condition in order to avoid disaster," argues the MP's attorney.

The large tree fell onto the crowd waiting in the Largo do Monte, the beginning of the procession in honour of Our Lady of the Mount. Thirteen people, including one child, died and another 49, including three foreign women, were transported to the hospital.

President of INTERPOL, resigns after being detained for bribery in China

The detained President of Interpol, Meng Hong wei, is being investigated for alleged bribe-taking, Chinese authorities have announced.

Mr Meng, who is also vice-minister for public security in China, was first reported missing in late September after travelling from Interpol HQ in France to China.

His wife has revealed that he sent her a text message with a knife emoji on the day he went missing.

In its announcement of the investigation, China's Public Security Ministry said the probe was "correct, wise and shows the determination of (President Xi)'s administration to continue its anti-corruption drive".

In a statement made by INTERPOL on 7 th October, it said it had received Mr Meng's resignation with immediate effect. Under its terms it has appointed senior vice-president Kim Jong-yang of South Korea as acting president.

A new president will be elected for the remaining two years of Mr Meng's mandate at the general assembly in Dubai next month.

On Saturday, the international police agency had urged China to clarify Mr Meng's status, saying it was concerned about the well-being of its president.


There is no indication that Meng's detention has anything to do with his INTERPOL duties. 

This is however, the second INTERPOL President to resign within 10 years resulting from a corruption investigation. In 2008 Jackie Selebi South African national police commissioner, resigned as president of Interpol, after he was charged with corruption in his native South Africa. He was found guilty of corruption in July 2010 and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.

The President of INTERPOL presides over the Executive Committee, which is responsible for   providing guidance and direction to the Organisation and overseeing the implementation of decisions made at the annual General Assembly.

Safe Communities Portugal - Projects and events

Safe Tourism 

The Algarve is one of the safest destinations in Europe, so it is important that we do everything possible to keep it that way.

Safety comes in many different forms such as ways to prevent for instance road accidents or drownings in the sea, to general crime prevention. 

The role of Safe Communities Portugal is to create awareness and provide advice so that visitors are informed and can take preventive measures where necessary. Our objective is that everyone visiting this lovely country has a safe and enjoyable holiday.

With this objective in mind, we have expanded the Safe Communities Algarve (SCA) website to further help holiday makers, by providing information in the following topics. Please take a moment to study these.

It is important in conveying crime prevention messages, that this is done in a language that the is understood, particular relevant in the case of tourists. The crime prevention advice for tourists on the SCA website has therefore been expanded to 10 languages, covering such subjects as safety and security: on the road, out and about; in your villa, hotel and late night entertainment etc.

The SCA website has the most comprehensive crime prevention advice in multiple languages in Portugal. Please visit the new page here. 

In order to focus on the most important security measures tourists should be aware of we have also uploaded our very successful Stay Safe series (currently on our Safe Communities Portugal website) onto our SCA website as well. Please visit the new page here

Another important subject which those booking villas need to be aware of, is online villa letting fraud. This is a global problem and one which is challenge for law enforcement agencies. We have therefore created a new page on the SCA website which covers this subject in more detail. with advice on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds. Please visit the new page here.

To give more comprehensive service to tourists we have created further new pages with helpful advice and information. Those completed are Water and Beach safety and Emergencies and those in the process of development cover: Camping and off Road activities, Road Safety, Health and Safety, and tips for travelling overseas. . 

Mediterranean Garden Fair - 27th October 2017 

Once again Safe Communities Portugal will be participating in the Mediterranean Garden Fair. which will be held at the Museu de Sao Brás de Alportel on 27th October from 1100 to 1600 hrs. The event is organised by the The Mediterranean Gardening Association Portugal (MGAP)

Our stand will be focusing on civil protection both for residents and holiday makers, with an emphasis on Safe Gardens, designed in such a way to reduce the risk of fires spreading to houses. We will also be explaining some of our new services being introduced in projects involving the government.

In addition we will also have our usual selection of crime prevention material and details of the GNR's Safe residence Program.

The Fair is a great day out for families. It provides an opportunity to buy the most appropriate plants for your garden and benefit from the advice and guidance of the knowledgeable nursery owners and MGAP members present.  The usual programme of free talks will be provided as well as the availability of snacks and food to purchase from local growers.

More details visit the MGAP website here.

Special Features

Money Laundering - what is it and how to avoid
Because of the clandestine nature of ML, it is difficult to estimate the total amount of money that goes through the laundry cycle.

However according to UNODC statistics (2018) the estimated amount of money laundered globally annually is between 2 - 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars. Though the margin between those figures is huge, even the lower estimate underlines the seriousness of the problem.

ML normally comprises three common steps:  (i) Placement - obtaining the money or introducing it into the financial system in some way; (ii) Layering - transferring or concealing the source of the money through complex or multiple transactions and (iii) Integration - returning the money back into the financial world so that it appears legitimate

Some Common examples .

  • Bulk cash smuggling involves smuggling cash into another country for deposit into offshore banks or other type of financial institutions that honour client secrecy.
  • Real estate laundering occurs when someone purchases real estate with money obtained illegally, then sells the property. This makes it seem as if the profits are legitimate.
  • Trade-based laundering where invoices are altered to show a higher or lower amount in order to disguise the movement of money.
  • Money Remittance and Foreign Exchange (MR/FX) sector, involves the misuse of MR/FX businesses for laundering money.
Situation in Portugal

The overall economic, financial and social context of Portugal has been heavily affected by the 2008 global financial crisis. The financial sector has been particularly hard hit, with banks in Portugal facing deteriorating balance sheets and liquidity pressure.
Read more here concerning laws in Portugal, how to detect and avoid.

Top stories

Welcome New British Ambassador to Portugal Chris Sainty
The new British Ambassador to Portugal Chris Sainty formally presented his credentials to his Excellency the President of Portugal, Prof Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and has now officially began his mandate as the new British Ambassador in Portugal.  Chris was appointed in January, in succession to Kirsty Hayes.

In his video message to the British community in Portugal, he said that: "You won't be surprised to hear that Brexit is the number one issue for me", adding that "My top priority is doing what I can to protect the interests of the British community in Portugal" and that "I will work with the Portuguese authorities to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your families".
He is married to Sarah Helen Sainty and has three children. He joined the diplomatic service in 1989 and his more recent postings have been:
  • 2015 - 2017 FCO, European Correspondent and Head of Europe (South) Department, Europe Directorate
  • 2011 - 2015 Rome, Deputy Head of Mission
  • 2008 - 2010 Islamabad, Political Counsellor
  • 2006 - 2008 The Hague, Deputy Head of Mission
  • 2004 - 2006 FCO, Head of EU Presidency Department

Safe Communities Portugal is p rivileged in enjoying a close relationship with the British Embassy and the Ambassador, in particular.

Chris Sainty, arrives to head a great team of dedicated officials in the Embassy and Consular offices who do tremendous work in helping British nationals in sorts of matters, sometimes in very distressing circumstances. 
Monchique, Municipal Veterinary Doctor wins National Veterinary Innovation Award

The Municipality of Monchique and the Municipal Veterinary Doctor, Dr. Ana Silva have been awarded the Innovation Award of Veterinary Medicine with the Safe Animal Program.

The award took place at the Vetbizz Conference held in Lisbon a few days ago.

On a day of sharing and discussion where new business models, styles of change in veterinary management were analysed, and how employee happiness management can impact on clinical results, prizes were awarded, highlighting projects and veterinary doctors who highlighted the work developed.

The Safe Animal Program is a pioneer initiative in the country, where for the first time, a municipality presents a set of preventive measures for animals in case of fire. This means that no animal should be left behind in the event of a fire, with the slogan, "If it is not safe for you, it will not be for your animal either."

This document also explains the forms of rescue for the animals, signs of need for first aid and how to act in case of emergency.

The Animal Safety Program can be found in its entirety on the website of the Municipality of Monchique, at this link

Management of air resources to fight fires is a "major challenge" for the Air Force

Prime Minister António Costa said that the management of air resources to fight fires is a "major challenge" for the Air Force following the resolution adopted at the Council of Ministers meeting of October 4, 2018.
The resolution defines the transition model for centralized command and management of rural firepower and progressively "increases the Air Force in the role of responsibility" in a mission "of great importance for safeguarding national security".

At Air Force Base 5 in Monte Real, Leiria, the Prime Minister added the importance of the upcoming Military Programming Law, which will "address the immediate and pressing needs of the industry" and the relevance of the program to acquire six KC-390 aircraft to replace the C-130 transport aircraft. 

This investment will impact not only on national defence but also on the development of the country's industrial and technological capacity.

During a visit accompanied by the Minister of National Defense, José Alberto Azeredo Lopes, and by the Air Force Chief of Staff, Manuel Rolo, the Prime Minister watched the F-16 fighters take off.

Person detained for illegal distribution of TV signals through servers

The Judicial Police (PJ) of Aveiro have detained a man in Oliveira de Azeméis suspected of illegally installing a television signal distribution system using the "card sharing" method, the agency said on Thursday 4 th October.

In a statement, the PJ said that the 44-year-old detainee "had through his own structure, illegally developed and shared by himself internet access cards for encrypted channels of paid TV service. This included obtaining customers, installing equipment, which had been specially tampered with to receive the coded signal, making the accesses available and receiving the agreed payments in return."

According to the investigators this structure comprised about a dozen servers, installed in Portugal, France and Germany.

"With this procedure, at the time of arrest, more than two hundred customers had illegitimate access to the paid TV signal without the operators of protected television content receiving the price due, to their detriment and those of the Public Treasury," the PJ stated.

In the course of the searches carried out, the complete system for the reception of the protected signal, decryption and its illicit Internet sharing, was seized comprising several satellite reception boxes, Internet access router, server and several "set-top-box" which had been tampered with.

The detainee is indicted on charges of aggravated cybercrime, illegitimate access, possession and sale of illicit devices and the usurping of copyright and related rights.
Notable Arrests

 PJ arrested person suspected of killing friend in Silves
A man, 58, was detained by the Judicial Police (PJ) on suspicion of killing a friend in the town of Silves, Algarve. He is charged with murder and the desecration of a corpse. He was presented to court this Friday 28 th September and was remanded in custody.

Both men suffered from chronic alcoholism and slept in a house in ruins by the river Arade in Silves.

According to a PJ source, the 58-year-old suspect repeatedly assaulted the victim with a stick, causing him serious injuries and eventually his death. Then he dragged the victim to a cisterna with the purpose of throwing him into the cisterna to hide the corpse but without success.

The body of José Martins Nunes, 57, known as "Ze Prego", was found one day later in a street near Mata Mouros, in Silves, near the house. He had several deep wounds to his head, which the investigation concluded were caused by a stick.

Lawyer arrested for making "improper" asylum applications 
The Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) has executed a search warrant at the home of a lawyer in the Lisbon area, who is suspected of being exclusively involved in making improper applications for asylum, for those who had been refused entrance into Portugal. The investigation by SEF, was named "Operation Lingala", and lasted more than a year.

The lawyer was constituted a defendant and was notified to appear in court. There are also strong indications of her involvement in a cell in Dakar, Senegal, which allegedly indicated the suspicion that foreign nationals came to Portugal and could subsequently initiate asylum applications.

After foreign citizens had arrived in Portugal and been refused entry they were  transferred to the Temporary Installation Center (EECIT) at the Lisbon Airport, whereupon the lawyer immediately appeared. She requested contact with the detainees (mostly nationals of African countries whose flights originated in Dakar, Luanda and Casablanca) without being asked to attend.

Then, in order to prevent them from being removed to their country of origin, the lawyer submitted an asylum application on behalf of the foreign citizens, as well as a power of attorney appointing her agent.

This abuse of the international protection mechanism through asylum applications, which were mostly unfounded, had the sole purpose of preventing intercepted passengers from returning to their country of origin, a move which gave the suspicion a high financial reward.

During the searches made to her apartment, which also functioned as an office, computer and communication equipment used by the suspect, schedules, notebooks with indication of amounts collected, as well as proof of transfers / receipts of monetary amounts via financial agencies or banks were seized. 

PSP arrest 25 traffickers near schools

In an operation last 16 days, the PSP have detained 25 people who sold drugs in the vicinity of 353 schools across the country. During the same period, and in the scope of Operation Safe School: beginning of the 2018/19 school year, the Police also seized four weapons, one of them of fire arm.

The initiative, which mobilised 3887 agents, was also used to inform 14,292 students to the consequences of crimes such as drug trafficking and illegal possession of a weapons
The PSP stated that, between September 12 and 28, it carried out 1016 surveillance operations near schools throughout the country. 

The PSP also detected 15 establishments selling alcoholic beverages to minors under 18 years of age and 25 people selling drugs. 

Local News

Increased personnel for GNR

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said that by the end of 2018, "more than 900 new guards" of GNR will be fully operational.

In Figueira da Foz, during the oath ceremony of 340 new guards of the GNR, Eduardo Cabrita pointed out that the 900 new graduates is "the largest number of new personnel for about a decade".

The Minister also said that the new guards "will have the support of equipment, vehicles, and in facilities adapted to the needs of this new challenge".

Eduardo Cabrita said that about 600 trainees will complete the formation in Portalegre on December 14, joining the 340 who graduated in Figueira da Foz and another hundred new officers.  

Rural Fire statistics - 2018

Since the beginning of this year up until 8th October, there have been a total of 11,380 fires, burning some 42,105 hectares of land. 

Of the land burned, 51% has been forest, 43% bush land and 6% agricultural.

Commenting, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that the risk of fire will remain very high in the coming days and called on the population to avoid risky behaviour in forest areas, such as making fires or launching rockets.

During a visit to the National Civil Protection Authority, Eduardo Cabrita called for "particular attention in the coming days, especially until next weekend because we are in a situation of maximum or very high risk in most of the country."

The Minister of Internal Affairs stated that the system has demonstrated "a great confidence in the responsiveness of the whole civil protection structure" and that the area burned in September was 80% lower than the average of the last 10 years, in relation to the same month

"Occurrences are 44% less than the average, and the area burned from January to 1st October is 62% less than the average of the last 10 years," he said. thus consolidating the trend of 'significant reduction in occurrences'.

Since the beginning of October, to the date of going to publication, however, there has been over 650 fires, a number  unparalleled in the last decade.The ANPC have called upon people to act responsibly in order to prevent fires.

Navy seizes 40 kilograms of hashish in the sea, in the Algarve region, near the border with Spain.

In the operation, carried out by the boat of rapid inspection unit of the Naval vessel Hydra, the drug was seized in two boxes, although the traffickers were not identified, the Navy said in a statement released Saturday 6th October.

Searches were carried out along the border, in coordination with the Southern Maritime Zone Command and with the support of the Port Authority of Vila Real de Santo António, and no more boxes containing narcotics were found.

The recovered drug was delivered by the Navy to the Maritime Police, adds the same source.

The Hydra ship is on a mission in the South Maritime Zone, exercising permanent vigilance in the waters under national jurisdiction, the navy also says.
Crime Prevention

Drink Driving Limits in Portugal

The legal alcohol limit for drivers is 0.5 grams per litre of blood. If you are driving and your blood alcohol content measures over 0.5 grams per litre, you incur penalties of different gravity, varying based on the registered levels of blood alcohol content.
  • You are liable to a fine from 250-1,250 euros and a prohibition from driving for a period between a month to a year, if your blood alcohol level is between 0.5 g/l and 0.8 g/l.
  • If your measured blood alcohol level is 0.8 g/l and 1.2 g/l, you can risk a fine from 500 to 2,500 euros and a ban from driving for two months to two years.
  • If the blood alcohol level is measured to 1.2 g/l or more, is considered as a crime in Portugal and you will be looking forward to prison and you will not be allowed to drive for the next three months to three years.
Professional drivers e.g: rescue or emergency services, collective transport of children and young people up to the age of 16, taxis, heavy passenger cars or goods or transport of dangerous goods (drivers subject to from 0.2 g/l and 0.5 g/l is a fine of € 250 to € 1250 and from 0.5 g/l up to 1.2 g/l a fine of € 500 to € 2500.
Police are very active throughout the country in drink driving enforcement so the chances of being caught are. DO NOT drink and drive.
Applying for a Criminal Record Certificate in Portuga l

For various reasons, such as applying for certain jobs, you may from time to time be required to produce evidence that you do not have a criminal record in the country in which you reside.

According to information released by the government, it is now possible to apply for a certificate of criminal record (Certificado de Registro Criminal Requerimento) onine, if you are a citizen with a citizen's card.

To request a certificate of criminal record just access the Criminal Justice website in English here and login for one of two ways: .
  • Card of citizen (authentication with use of the pin);
  • Key Digital Mobile (alternative means for authentication using the phone or e-mail).
This certificate will have an access code that can be used for consultation, whenever necessary, by the applicant or by another who has been provided with the code. According to the executive, in addition to the advantages of simplicity, comfort and speed, this measure will allow a great savings of paper.

For those who do not have a citizens card and a pin, an application can be made using other methods. Details can be downloaded in English here.

Civil Protection and Public Safety

Beach Safety 

The Maritime Authority has recently given the following advice concerning beach safety.
1. Allow time before swimming after a large meal
2. Never turn your back on the sea if close to it, 
3. Watch children constantly 
4. Pay special attention to rip currents

The bathing season has already ended on most Portuguese beaches. As many beaches no longer have the permanent assistance of lifeguards, coupled with the lack of signage and equipment to assist swimmers, it is therefore fundamental that people take special care in terms of safety, advises the Maritime Authority.

Portugal has some of the best beaches in the world. In enjoying our beaches sometimes safety issues can easily be overlooked. 

Safe Communities Algarve has therefore published a new page on its website covering safety at beaches which can be downloaded here.  This includes important advice concerning subjects such as rip currents, unstable cliffs etc. Please study and have a safe trip to the beach. 

Critical Fire Period extended until 15th October

The Critical fire period remains in effect until 15th October. At the time of going to print it is not known if it will be further extended.

Please note that during the Critical Fire Period or outside this period when the fire risk in the area is "Very High" or "Maximum" the following is in effect: 
  • The burning of piled-up waste is not permitted 
  • The use of stoves, BBQs and grills is prohibited in all rural spaces, except where used outside of the critical areas and in places duly authorised for the purpose. 
  • Smoking and all types of naked flames are prohibited in woodland and forests. 
  • Balloons with a lit fuse and rockets are prohibited. Fireworks are only permitted subject to authorisation from the Municipal Council. 
  • Fumigating and pest control in apiaries are prohibited except where the fumigators are fitted with spark retention devices. 
  • Spark retention devices and flame covers must be used on exhaust pipes and chimneys of machinery with internal or external combustion engines and on heavy transport vehicles. One or two 6 kg fire extinguishers must be carried depending on whether the maximum weight is less or more than ten tonnes.

During the Critical Fire Period or outside the period when the fire risk is "High", Very High" or "Maximum" the following also applies:.
  • Burning for grassland renewal, cleaning stubble or debris that is uncut or cut on the ground, but NOT in piles, is not permitted 
Outside the Critical Fire Period monitor the fire risk in your area daily. If you wish to burn debris contact the local Bombeiros first to see if this is permissible and if any specific conditions apply and follow the ICNF safety measures in English here to ensure the fire does not get out of control.

Start of the Hydrological Year

October marks the start of the hydrological year, with an increase in the probability of unstable weather conditions. 

The first rains will sweep all sorts of waste along with them and this will tend to accumulate at the mouths of the drainage system, interfering with the normal flow of the water.

To help prevent incidents of flooding and minimise any impact if and when they do occur, Portimão's Municipal Civil Defence Service recommends taking the following measures:

  • Clean and unblock plug holes and drainage channels on farms and balconies, and in basements and garages; remove any leaves, sand and stones that may have accumulated there;
  • Get pumping systems checked out;
  • Replace roofs on buildings undergoing building work;
  • Clean out gutters and drain pipes;
  • Call the 24-hour help line to alert the authorities if you notice anything untoward on public roads, e.g. blocked holes, gutters and sewers, places where leaves have accumulated or work sites with items that are not properly stored or secured.
If you live in the Portimão are contact: Portimão Municipal Centre for Civil Defence and Rescue Operations, Edifício dos Bombeiros - or  500-649 Portimão CMP-252E-18 Tel. 282 420 130 | Fax 282 420 138  proteccao.civil@cm-portimao.pt  I f in other areas contact the local Bombeiros.

What is the Hydrlogical Year?

In the norther hemisphere, the 'Hydrological New Year' occurs on 1st October (in the Northern Hemisphere) and it's the point when the hydrological cycle is in balance. After 1st October rainfall starts to fill up the water reserves in the ground, until 1st April (middle point of the hydrological year), when evaporation starts to deplete this stored water. 

This carries on until 1st October, when it starts to replenish, and the cycle begins again.

Cybercrime and Computer Security 

Chinese spying chips found hidden in servers used by US companies

A recent media report has revealed details of a significant supply chain attack which appears to be one of the largest corporate espionage and hardware hacking programs from a nation-state.

According to a lengthy report published on 4th October by Bloomberg, a tiny surveillance chip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, has been found hidden in the servers used by nearly 30 American companies, including Apple and Amazon.

The malicious chips, which were not part of the original server motherboards designed by the U.S-based company Super Micro, had been inserted during the manufacturing process in China.

The report, based on a 3-year-long top-secret investigation in the United States, claims that the Chinese government-affiliated groups managed to infiltrate the supply chain to install tiny surveillance chips to motherboards which ended up in servers deployed by U.S. military, U.S. intelligence agencies, and many U.S. companies like Apple and Amazon.

Since the implants were small, the amount of code they contained was small as well. But they were capable of doing two very important things: telling the device to communicate with one of several anonymous computers elsewhere on the internet that were loaded with more complex code; and preparing the device's operating system to accept this new code."

The chips suspected to have been added to help Chinese government spy on American companies and their users-basically a "hardware hack" that according to the publication is "more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating, promising the kind of long-term, stealth access that spy agencies are willing to invest millions of dollars and many years to get."

Watch out for this Phishing email in the name of Bank of America

Watch out for this phishing email in the name of Bank of America.This is attempting to get you to disclose your personal details. DO NOT click on the attachment and links - simply delete without reply.

The originator is: Bank of America Business <sparschiedam (at) despar.info>


For details of a recent payment made to you, please see the attached payment remittance advice.

If you have any queries or questions, our contact details are printed on the remittance advice.

Thank you for using Bank of America. Strong. Loyal. Innovative.

Thank you for being our customer.<br>

Remember: We never ask for private information such as an account number, card PIN, or Social Security or Tax ID number in email messages.

Questions about banking, mortgage, and investment services?
Call 1-800-869-3557, 24 hours a day - 7 days a week Small business customers 1-800-225-5935
24 hours a day - 7 days a week"

Overseas News

Six men jailed over £17m solar panels scam that targeted elderly and vulnerable
Six men have been jailed over a £17m solar panels  scam which defrauded 1,500 victims in the UK.

Among those targeted were elderly, retired and vulnerable people who were "manipulated" into buying panels on the false promise that installation costs would be invested and they would get their money back in five years.

However, no monies were invested by the now-defunct Manchester-based firm Solar Energy Savings Ltd and the defendants instead spent the cash on luxury cars and holidays.

Victims were tricked by deceitful sales techniques, outright lies and false guarantees of reimbursement as they lost between £10,000 and £20,000 each, said the Serious Fraud Office.
The scam's ringleaders, brothers David Diaz, 34, and Ludovic Black, 38, went on the run for seven months and were finally caught during a routine police traffic stop in Cheshire.

Both men and their co-defendants, Robert Ross, 52, Stephen Wilson, 56, Kenneth Reid, 60, and Niall Hastie, 54, were convicted by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court of fraud earlier this year.

Diaz and Black, both of Glasgow, received jail terms of seven and half years and six and a half years. They each received an extra two months in prison for committing bail offences.

Wilson, of Widnes, Cheshire, and Ross, of Ayr, were each jailed for four and a half years, while Reid and Hastie, both from Glasgow, were sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Madeiran man convicted for sexual crimes through impersonating woman on Tinder
The Diário de Notícias in Lisbon reports the case of a Duarte Xavier, a 34-year-old man from Madeira, who lives in England, who has been tried in London for impersonating a woman in the Tinder social network to seduce men and have sex with them.

The BBC has the full story here.They report that he tricked four men into having sex with him by pretending to be a woman online.

Duarte Xavier posed as "Ana", sent the men explicit photos and videos of women he claimed to be, and encouraged his victims to meet him blindfolded. One of the men became suspicious while having sex with Xavier and made off.

A jury at Kingston Crown Court found him guilty of six counts of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. Police believe there may be other victims who have so far felt too ashamed to come forward.

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in Portugal

Each week Safe Communities Portugal provides advice and assistance to those who have contacted the association. No charge is made for this service. If you have benefited from this then why not make a small donation in return. 


Safe Communities Portugal is a non-profit association run by unpaid volunteers. Our services are free of charge and the association is funded by donations. Your generosity by making a donation to help maintain and further develop the work of the association and thereby help keep portugal a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps.  

Three ways to make a donation


Paypal - If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. 

By cheque - If you wish to donate by cheque the bank account name is "Associacao SCP Safe Communities Portugal" and cheques can be posted to Caixa 207-Z, Alfontes, Boliqueime, 8100-062, Algarve.

By interbank transfer - If you wish to donate through inter bank transfer please use the same name with the following account details NIB 0033 0000 4542 9864 44705. 

All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Safe Communities Portugal - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Portugal produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident and the next one is out on 1st November 2018.

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Sir Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is usually aired at 0915 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. Over the last few months with the kind agreement of Owen we have run additional features covering topical issues, such as fire protection.  The next one is on  28th October.  

How your friends can obtain up to date Crime Prevention advice
Please pass on details of Safe Communities Algarve to neighbours and friends so they to can benefit from the up to date crime prevention advice. Simply ask them to click on the following link to obtain the latest newsletter: www.safecommunitiesportugal.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Safe Communities Portugal



11th October 2018