Police have nabbed eight persons who were involved in swindling money from people on the pretext of exchanging foreign currency at a rate lower than the market rate.

The police came to know about the large scale business of the racketeers and their notorious history following the arrest of a few members of the gang last Friday on September 25.

Earlier, a youth Nawaraj, 25, (name changed) from Dhapasi, who had recently returned from foreign employment was looted by the members of the group.

According to police, Nawaraj was lured by a young girl whom he had known through Facebook.

She had told Nawaraj that her family had found a large amount of US Dollars from an earthquake rubble and they were willing to exchange it with Nepali currency at a lower rate.

Nawaraj, who had met the girl once at a hotel room agreed to exchange Rs 500,000 for USD. After a few days, he went near Rose Village Apartments in Balkot, Bhaktapur with the cash. There, two persons along with the girl handed him apparently a bundle of USD bills wrapped by a towel in exchange of Nepali currency.

While exchanging the money, Nawaraj was shown some original US dollar bills.

But below the original US dollar bills were actually stacked a bulk of paper cut in the size of the USD bill. Unaware of it Nawaraj had handed his money to them. As soon as they received the money all three, including the girl, left the scene.

When Nawaraj checked the bag he finally learned that he was swindled by the girl and her friends. He then lodged a complaint against the girl and her team at Bhaktapur Police. Police soon arrested them and five more persons from their rented rooms at Bode of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality.

Of those arrested are, leader of the group Khel Bahadur Tamang, 36, Rail Bahadur Tamang, 33, Shyam Bahadur Tamang, 33, Ram Krishna Tamang, 25, Kanchi Tamang, 32, Raj Kumar Tamang, 33, Nirmal Bhandari, 23, and Bimal Bhandari, 21.

All of them are from Barhabise Municipality, 3, of Sindhupalchowk district and are related to each other or are neighbours.

Only after their arrest last Friday, police came to know that they were involved in similar 10 other cases. The group had been active in swindling money from people for the past six years and they had swindled millions of rupees in the same manner. Subash Budhathoki, inspector and spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range, Bhaktapur, said some of them lived at various places in Kathmandu valley, in disguise as commoners.

“The gang members were involved in activities like animal husbandry and truck driving. They were very friendly to their neighbours wherever they lived.”

The leader, Khel Bahadur had bought two ropani land in Shankharapur Municipality of Kathmandu district.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on October 1 2020, of The Himalayan Times.