122 Chinese suspected of cyber, financial crime held

Kathmandu, December 23

Nepal Police today arrested 122 Chinese nationals, who entered Nepal on tourist and student visas, on suspicion of their involvement in illicit activities, such as cyber and financial crime.

They were arrested from seven private residences in Kathmandu — three in Manamaiju and two each in Bansbari and Budhanilkantha — between 1:00pm and 7:00pm. Police have confiscated a large number of laptops and mobile phones from these apartments.

“We believe they were involved in illegal activities, including cyber and financial crime,” said Central Investigation Bureau Deputy Inspector General Neeraj Bahadur Shahi. “We will soon reveal what exactly they were doing in rented apartments.”

The operation was conducted by the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police in coordination with Metropolitan Crime Division-Teku, Metropolitan Police Range-Teku, Metropolitan Police Office-Rani Pokhari and the Police Headquarters. It is not known whether these Chinese nationals had valid visas to stay in Nepal or were overstaying.

These Chinese nationals were living secluded lives in rented apartments, which looked like offices, according to DIG Shahi. “They possessed special identity cards and anyone who wanted to enter those apartments had to produce the IDs,” said Shahi. “This was very strange which raised our eyebrows,” he added.

Most of the arrested Chinese had visited Nepal on tourist visas. “But they were not engaged in touristic activities. Anyone who enters Nepal on tourist visa should stay here like a tourist,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi, who heads Metropolitan Police Range-Teku. Some of those arrested had arrived in Nepal on student visas.

The police arrested them after clandestinely monitoring their activities of the last few days.

Police rounded up the Chinese nationals using “urgent arrest warrants”. This type of arrest warrant allows police to detain suspects for up to 24 hours. Within these 24 hours, police will have to present them at the Kathmandu District Court, which will decide whether to free them or detain them for a few more days for further investigation.

Police have kept the arrested Chinese at police stations across Kathmandu district.

These arrests were made almost four months after six Chinese nationals were arrested in connection with the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector, which saw illegal withdrawal of at least Rs 35.8 million from ATMs in Nepal and India.