MPCD worried about growing incidents of cybercrime

Kathmandu, June 27

Police have arrested two persons for allegedly posting on Facebook ‘objectionable, abusive and threatening’ comments attributed to office-bearers of Press Council Nepal over an investigation into a television programme ‘Sidha Kura Janata Sanga’.

According to Metropolitan Police Crime Division, Binod Gautam, 50, of Ilam and Bishnu Dhakal, 36, of Nawalparasi were held from Teku of Kathmandu respectively yesterday. Superintendent of Police Narendra Prasad Upreti at MPCD said they had posted several defamatory comments on the social networking site with the intent of malign the image of PCN officials.

Meanwhile, MPCD said that its attention was drawn to growing incidents of cybercrime and warned internet users to be cautious against the misuse of social networking sites. It said phishing, identity theft, hacking, spreading hate and inciting violence, circulating lewd photos and videos and grooming were major forms of cybercrime reported to the law enforcement agency.

“Any person involved in cybercrime is liable to Rs 100,000 in fine or five years in jail or both under Article 47 of the existing law,” MPCD warned, adding that cybercriminals could spread malicious links to people and cheat them through phoney accounts. Facebook is an open platform for all sorts of people, including frauds and criminals, and it cannot identify who is good and who is bad. Women and unemployed youths are more vulnerable to deception.

“Gullible users may also be blackmailed or be persuaded to send money to scammers,” MPCD said. With greater access to the internet and other technologies, misuse of social networking sites, especially Facebook, has not only posed a threat to the younger generation but also has become a tool for criminals. The Central Investigation Bureau and MPCD are the only two police units, which handle cases of cybercrime.

According to statistics released by Metropolitan Police Office, over 1,200 complaints of cybercrime were registered during the 11 months (mid-July to mid-June) of the current fiscal. Of them, 72 cases were filed at the court. Around 60 per cent of the alleged victims are women.

Some cases were settled through reconciliation between the concerned parties. Police had recorded 1,197 cybercrime complaints last fiscal. Bringing the guilty to the book is next to impossible for the police unless a victim categorically identifies the suspect, officials say.