Increase in illegal activities in China, Nepal becoming a “Chinatown”

Kathmandu: The growing number of illegal activities by Chinese nationals has become a major source of concern in Nepal. Nepalese police raided a call center run by Chinese nationals on July 26. Police arrested 36 people during the raid, including a Chinese national, and seized Rs 829.00, along with 262 laptops and 748 desktop computers. On June 7, four Chinese were apprehended near the Kathmandu border, along with NPR 40 million in cash.

Chinese nationals are setting up illegal call centers in Nepal to target Indians through instant loan apps by giving them loans at high interest rates. In one of the call centers, local Nepalese were hired as staff under the guise of promotional activities, but were forced to abuse Indian borrowers and blackmail them with makeover images. The Nepalese police do not know why the illegal and fraudulent activities of Chinese nationals are increasing in Nepal.

The reason for the increase in illegal activities is that Nepal as a country confidently welcomes tourists from all over the world. The call centers are in the name of the Nepalese, they are like service centers. Thus, Nepal became accessible to the Chinese.

In 2017, no cases of fraud/illegality were registered against the Chinese. In 2019, 94 Chinese nationals were arrested for public crimes, bank fraud and black marketing. While in 2020, 29 Chinese were arrested for online gambling, public offense, kidnapping and bank fraud. In 2021, another 18 Chinese were arrested for similar criminal cases such as online gambling. Chinese citizens who were arrested in most cases were acquitted because the operations were rushed.

The violent offenders were found with 747 mobile phones, 331 laptops, 18 processors, 99 monitors, 22 USB drives, 327 SIM cards and 67 passports. Proponents in Nepal say another new legislative act is needed to tackle the country’s growing cybercrime. The arrested Chinese are believed to have been involved in a variety of financial crimes such as gambling, betting and other internet-related fraud facilitated by their call centers. However, the Nepalese police have not found any solid evidence to support these allegations.

Nepal’s current cyber law, “Electronic Transactions Act (2008)”, only supports cases of online crimes such as electronic transaction fraud, bank fraud and hacking, but there are today new and different types of cybercrime. It is difficult to investigate cyber crimes here. So there is a need for improvement, Ganga Prasad Poudel, head of the district government prosecutor’s office told WION.

There is no ban on foreigners working in Nepal, but they must obtain a work permit. Chinese citizens enter with a visit visa and renew it every six months, living illegally. Chinese nationals are frequently suspected of being members of a cross-border online betting syndicate. However, neither the immigration agency nor the police have the technology or personnel to confirm the suspicions. As a result, with no other choice, the arrested Chinese are deported to China even before being charged.

Chinese networks have spread across the world, selling gold, dollars, wild animal parts, herb smuggling, hacking, human abductions, attempted murders, human trafficking, drug trafficking, online fraud, gambling and gambling centers and illegal medical practices. According to a senior police official, Chinese activity in Nepal has increased to the point where it has become “Chinatown”.

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