Bangladeshi police have arrested 11 people suspected of trying to sell fake uranium as part of an elaborate scam, officials have said.

In a series of raids in Dhaka on Saturday, police swooped on the gang and recovered a leather box marked "USSR" containing what some members of the group described as uranium, a senior officer said on Sunday.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told the AFP news agency that police would send the hundreds of small objects similar to medical pills inside the box to Bangladesh's Atomic Energy Commission for testing.

The spokesman said police suspect the gang was running an elaborate scam aimed at selling the off-white "uranium" tablets for cash.

"After primary investigation we've learnt the accused targeted rich people and told them about the demand for uranium in [the] international market," a police statement said.

"They told rich clients they can make billions by investing only hundreds of thousands of [local currency] taka. They cut off communications with the interested buyers once they invest some money."

They apparently intended to show prospective clients a video about the product which the gang valued at more than 500 million taka ($6m), the statement said.

Bangladesh has no known sources of uranium. But police said there have been widespread rumours that uranium was being found in pillars marking the border which were constructed during the British colonial period.

"Attracted by this campaign, many people are giving a lot of money to different gangs of cheats [posing as uranium sellers] hoping that it would make them rich," the police spokesman said.

Source: AFP