KATHMANDU: As many as 850 foreign citizens are currently doing time for various crimes in 36 prisons across the country.

Any foreign citizen, who commits crime on Nepali soil, is liable to punishment and jail sentence as per the existing laws of the country.

According to recent statistics by the Department of Prison Management, the number of foreigners in Nepali jails has decreased to 850 as of August 2015 compared to 903 in January 2014.

Most of the foreigners behind bars are serving their sentences for drug smuggling. Others have been convicted of fraud, passport forgery and smuggling of fake currency, among others.

Of the total jailbirds from 18 countries, 187 inmates have been kept in the Central Jail, 25 in Dilli Bazaar Prison of Kathmandu and 71 in Nakkhu Jail of Lalitpur.

Likewise, Jhapa jail houses 99 foreign prisoners, which is the largest number in any prison outside the Valley.

Jhapa is followed by Morang with 61 foreign prisoners, Parsa with 49, Sunsari with 45, Banke with 37 and Kailali with 32. Similarly, Makwanpur houses 29 foreign jailbirds, Mahottari 26, Palpa 23, Siraha 20, Rupandehi 14, Rautahat 18, Saptari 16, Kaski 12, Sindhupalchowk 10, Kapilvastu 10, Kanchanpur 10, Ilam 9, Ramechhap 7, Chitwan 7, Dang (Ghorahi) 6, Bhojpur 4, Dang (Tulsipur) 4, Kavre 3, Dhading 3, Parbat 3, Sindhuli 2, Tanahun 2, Dadeldhura 2, Darchula 1, Dolakha 1, Rasuwa 1 and Panchathar 1.

Indian citizens outnumber other foreign inmates in Nepal with 614 followed by Bhutanese 93, Chinese 34, Pakistanis 32, Bangladeshis 23, Nigerians 8, Tanzanians 5, African 5, French 4, Liberians 2, Romanians 2, and each one German, Italian, Dutch, Iranian, Gambian, Sierra Leonean and Guinean.

The data shows that Indian and Bhutanese prisoners were convicted of drug smuggling, robbery, murder and human trafficking, while most of the Pakistani prisoners were jailed for carrying fake bank notes,forged passports and drug trafficking, among others.

Similarly, a large number of Bangladeshis were found involved in citizenship and passport forgery whereas Chinese were convicted of smuggling gold, US dollars and herbs.

The country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts. Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha districts do not have any prison, while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each. The prisons across the country with a total capacity of 10,434 persons are crammed with more than 16,000 jailbirds.