Police still clueless about two Chinese involved in cyber heist

Kathmandu, September 7

It has been a week since Nepal police arrested six Chinese nationals for their involvement in the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector in which they stole millions of rupees from ATMs, but police have not been able to nab the two Chinese nationals who are at large following the incident.

On September 1, acting on information provided by bank staffers, police had first held Zhu from the Durbar Marg-based ATM kiosk of Nabil Bank at around 4:30 pm, leading to the arrest of four others from Maya Manor Boutique Hotel at Hattisar. However, three other Chinese men, who were staying on the third floor of the same hotel had fled the scene. Of the three absconding racketeers, police arrested Xu Luc Li, 36, a man of Chinese origin, who holds a passport of France, the next day from Tribhuvan International Airport. He was in a bid to fly to Malaysia.

The two absconders, whose identities are yet to be revealed, were last spotted walking on the pavement in Gaushala near Dwarika’s Hotel, on the night of the heist, according to police. Police said a private vehicle had dropped them at Battisputali-based Dwarika’s Hotel. Deputy Superintendent of Police at Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said, “But, none of them had booked any room there.”

Police are still trying to find out who had dropped them at the hotel.

It has also been revealed that Xi, before being arrested at TIA had reached Nepal-China border at Kerung by taxi in a bid to flee the country. He had hired a taxi for USD 250. At around 11:00am the next day, he was near Kerung border.

“But, he had to abandon the plan fearing tight security at the border,” DSP Bogati said. He further said that Xi had then booked a helicopter from there to come to the capital in order to catch the booked flight to Malaysia. But he was arrested at the Airport before he could board the plane at around 10:00pm.

Meanwhile, police also said that it would take some more time to get the digital forensic reports of the electronic equipment confiscated from the Chinese. Police had seized a card printing machine, six mobile phones, a laptop and a data card from the Chinese hackers. Forensic investigation of the equipment is being carried out at Nepal Police’s own digital forensic lab inside Police Headquarters, Naxal.

“We are facing difficulties in unfolding the case, due to language barrier,” said DSP Bogati. All the electronic equipment confiscated by the police come with Chinese language. “But we are confident that the final report will be prepared within 60 days as required by the law,” he added.

Nepal Police is also preparing to ask  the international criminal police organisation, Interpol, to issue a diffusion notice against absconding persons.