Sofia, Bulgaria - (Spooky Mess): Bulgarian telecom giant (sic) Mob-I-Tell has suspended a 'cherished' cellphone number following complaints that every owner/user in the last decade has died in horrible circumstances.
The much prized 0888 888 888 designation was fought over by wannabe owner/users following widespread publicity that the number eight is supremely lucky in Chinese superstition lore.
Drug-dealing Triad gangs in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei and Macao may have cottoned on to the number's unique attraction according to a CIA report published this week.
This says the Triads have traditionally used Bulgaria's capital Sofia as a major gateway to lucrative EU trade.
The report also speculates that the assignment of the unique digits may have been masterminded by Chinese Al Qaeda affiliates, keen for a slice of telecoms-related action.
The number was initially assigned to Mob-I-Tell CEO Vladimir Grashnov whose 2001 cancer death was not considered suspicious until a raft of claims that he'd been poisoned by a dose of Plutonium-210.
Its subsequent re-assignment to Sofia-based mafia boss Konstantin Dimitrov two years later saw the mobster gunned down during a foreign drug buying trip to Amsterdam.
And cocaine boss Konstantin Dishliev who inherited the phone number two years later suffered a similar assassination.
The number has since been mothballed despite widespread claims it has been offered as a business number to the Dalai Llama.
An update is expected later this week.