Case requires multinational investigation, says Nepal DIG
Nepal DIG says India, Nepal and China must unite and help each other in investigating mobile loan scams
DIG Tek Prasad Rai, Nepal Police Information Officer
Chinese nationals set up illegal call centers Nepal targeting Indians through instant loan apps has become a problem for law enforcement authorities in Kathmandu. Nepali authorities said there was little the police could do against the Chinese nationals because they do not disturb the inhabitants. DIG Tek Prasad Rai, Chief Information Officer of the Nepal Police, said better coordination between India, Nepal and China can curb cyber crimes.
Acting on a series of midday reports, Nepalese police have raided three illegal call centers over the past two weeks and arrested 190 people, including five Chinese nationals and two Indians. DIG Rai said call center staff – local Nepalese – were hired under the guise of promotional activities, but were forced to abuse Indian borrowers and blackmail them with manipulated images to extort money. ‘silver. Excerpts from the interview:
Also read: Loan application fraud: 12th pass Bihar man was second in command to Chinese kingpin
Midday Faizan Khan with DIG Tek Prasad Rai at Nepal Police Headquarters in Kathmandu
How come illegal call centers are operating under the nose of the Nepalese police and they have gone undetected for more than 2 years?
It is not true that these centers operate under our noses. The call center was registered under the Companies Act in Nepal and Chinese nationals came with business visas. The centers were licensed for marketing purposes but engaged in illegal activities. This is not the first time that we have raided such centers. The first one [raid] happened in December 2019 when more than 120 Chinese nationals were deported. The centers targeted Indian nationals only by providing easy loans. We have maintained our surveillance of these centres.
Why are Chinese nationals not prosecuted in Nepal, instead of being deported to their country of origin?
How can we act? When there is no complaint, how can we act? They use such technology that it is very difficult to recover the data but this time we have taken this issue seriously knowing the kind of trauma these centers have created for Indian nationals. We have also shared the details with the Indian government, which may be helpful for Indian police forces to investigate their cases as part of a larger conspiracy. We are currently probing them for creating a public nuisance. If we receive Indian victims, we will be able to invoke strict sections of the existing laws.
What is the biggest obstacle in your probe?
As I said there are no complaints about the digital loan application cases but I see this case needs an international investigation where India, China and Nepal can help each other to stop this cybercrime. Here, groups use our territory to target other nations.
What is the current status of your file?
We cannot reveal the details of the ongoing investigation, but it is going in the right direction; we are waiting for the medical-legal reports; and the matter is being investigated by the Special Branch, the Cyber Bureau, and the local police.
What measures have been taken against the residents who rented their premises to these Chinese nationals when they were aware of their illegal work?
Not everyone is aware of the activity, but in a few centers we have found the connivance of the owner of the premises and we will take action against them in accordance with the law.
What reason do you see behind a large number of Chinese nationals coming to Nepal and setting up call centers with the sole purpose of targeting Indians?
There are several reasons. The first is that they cannot handle this in India because if a case is reported, the Indian authorities will come after them. The other is that if they target Indians from Nepal, the Nepalese police will find it difficult to act without filing a complaint.