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Financial cybercrime rumble in Kathmandu

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Financial cybercrime rumble in Kathmandu

The arrest of 122 Chinese nationals by the Nepal Police in December last year reveals that groups committing major financial frauds are moving to South Asia from their traditional haunts in Southeast Asia.

The December 23 raids last year by Nepal’s police were the biggest in over a decade and led to the detention of 122 Chinese nationals for overstaying their visas. The raids followed intelligence that the Chinese nationals were involved in “illegal activities” including “banking fraud.”

According to reports the accused had been paying inflated rent to the house owners and lived in large groups. The police carried out the raids across five locations across Kathmandu and seized a large number of mobile phones and passports at the spot and confirmed that most of their visas had expired.

On December 29, the police investigation revealed that the gang had been operating more than a dozen private companies registered under different names to hide their activities and had hired over a 1000 fellow Chinese nationals for its operation, according to Kantipur TV, a leading national Nepali television network.

After the arrests, Geng Shuang, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a media briefing said, “We will continue to work with Nepal to enhance cooperation in law enforcement and other fields, fight cross-border crime and facilitate friendly exchange.”

According to Kathmandu Police, an additional 700 Chinese nationals live illegally in Nepal. “We could not catch most of them as they might have run away. We are still on high alert,” said Uttam Raj Subedi, the head of Metropolitan Police Range.

Hemanta Malla, a former deputy inspector general of Nepal Police, said that while traditionally, Indian criminals have posed a challenge to Nepal’s security apparatus, but the crime trends show that Chinese nationals committing online fraud pose a national security threat.

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