miércoles, 6 de abril de 2016

Talking point: Law and order

This week's talking point is law and order. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

What are white-collar crimes?
Which of these can be considered white-collar crimes?
bribery-arson-insider trading-burglary
shoplifting-selling information-cybercrime
Do you think white-collar criminals should do time in jail?
Can crime ever be justified?
How can young people be protected from cyber bullying?
What can we do to protect ourselves from online crime like phishing?
Do you think the victims of crime get enough help from the justice system?
How effective do you think prisons are?
What alternatives to prisons can you think of?
Do you think there are too many laws or regulations governing our lives?
Are there any new laws you would like to introduce?
What laws do you consider unfair and how would you change them?
Does gun ownership make society safer?
Which are the requirements to own a gun in your country?
Can you  think of suitable punishments for these crimes?

1 Mugging
A teenager was walking home late at night after a party, when three men jumped out from behind a wall and hit him in the face. As he fell to the
ground, they took his phone and his wallet from his pocket and ran into a nearby house.

2 Fraud
A man from London received a desperate email from his friend. Apparently, the friend was on holiday in the USA when all his money and
possessions were stolen. He asked for £500 cash to be sent as soon as possible. The man sent off the money, and was just coming back from the
post office when he saw his friend coming out of a shop. He hadn’t even been in the USA.

3 Burglary
A wealthy woman returned to her home to find that the back door had been smashed with an axe. All the drawers and cupboards had been opened, and her things were thrown everywhere. However, she was amazed to discover that none of her valuable jewellery had gone. All that was missing was a single antique vase.

To illustrate the topic watch this news clip about a crime.

It was a property scam in which a criminal gang made millions of pounds by effectively stealing people’s homes. At the heart of it was a trio of corrupt officials: A land registry clerk, a solicitor, and a bank manager who for legal reasons can’t be identified.
Surjeet Chana worked at the land registry and provided title deeds and owner signatures so they could be forged.
"She’s is now with a very serious depression…"
Her daughter said she was now very ill.
"The thing is she’s not well because even she is not talking to the family either."
Solicitor Charles Spiropolous did the conveyancing using his office to complete the illegal house sales and collect money. The bank manager helped the gang hide their profits.
"Can I talk to you about the case on Friday?"
"Which case?"
He left them use his bank to launder the money they made, nearly four million pounds. The gang searched for homes like this, neglected or abandoned, their owners dead or in care.
The old lady who owns this house died and left it in her will to five different charities. While that complicated legal situation was being sorted out, the house was neglected and became an obvious target for the gang. They boarded it up, changed the locks, then erected an official-looking sign urging the owner to get in touch. If none did, they went ahead and sold the houses, a quick cap price sale usually to an unsuspecting developer. Police don’t know how many they sold.
"The arrogance with which is some way this is carried out… they wouldn’t get detected. But this is not seen as a serious crime but yet when you look at it we have elderly victims, in care homes, whose homes are left there and suddenly being sold underneath them."
The gang leaders at first used a barber shop in Surrey to launder the drugs profits. Then they developed for more sophisticated property fraud. The gang sold this home in Croydon for £140,000. Owner Ann McKendrick said “I have lost my past, much of my identity and reason for existing.”  This house in Wimbledon went for £190,000. Owner Frida Gallagher said she’d been left very confused and in total shock. But at times the gang were moving hold-alls of cash through the corrupt bank manager’s branch. He got 5% on each illegal house sale, when he should have been reporting the gang for money laundering.

Martin Brunt, Sky News, South London.