Beijing: It has been discovered that Chinese nationals frequently commit financial fraud in Nepal, including operating Ponzi schemes online and duping foreigners with the promise of quick loans. In this context, the investigation department appears to lack expertise, and as a result, cases rarely come to a satisfactory conclusion.

The increasing involvement of Chinese nationals in illegal activities has become a serious cause for concern for the authorities in Nepal. In the latest incident on April 22, 22 Chinese nationals were arrested in a raid at a house in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, by a joint team from the Department of Immigration and Nepal Police.

At the beginning, the news failed to make headlines and was largely ignored by Nepal’s local media outlets. The details of the duping by Chinese nationals also continues to stay unclear and obscure. However, the lack of resources became an obstacle to the investigation. The police was unable to investigate the foreigner’s suspicious illegal activities.Especially when it comes to crimes committed through the misuse of technology, the police are woefully incompetent. Nepal’s local media outlet Annapurna Express learnt that authorities had been tipped about suspicious activities in the house. Later, the suspects had been caught with 35 laptops, 675 mobile phones, and 760 SIM cards issued by Nepal Telecom and NCell.It is noteworthy that as the police had no substantive ground to lay charges on the 22 suspects, all of them were released a day later on the condition of helping the authorities with the investigation.The immigration department has confiscated their passports to prevent them from leaving the country. The suspects, who were released under the custody of one Manjil Shrestha, are currently staying at a hotel in Thamel.

Narayan Prasad Bhattarai, director-general at the Department of Immigration, said that the investigation is being pursued with the assistance of the police. “The suspects had entered Nepal on business visas. We also found that one of them had overstayed his visa,” Bhattarai said adding, “We are still trying to find out the nature of their activities here in Nepal.”After the confiscation of the laptops and mobile phones from the Chinese nationals, they have been sent to the Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory.Oftentimes, the Chinese nationals are suspected to be part of a syndicate involved in cross-border online betting. However, neither the immigration agency nor the police has the right technology and manpower to confirm their suspicion.In a similar case, the authorities arrested 122 Chinese nationals, also with similar equipment, in December 2019 for their alleged involvement in criminal activities. These arrests were made with the aid of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, which was worried that the suspects were tarnishing China’s image.

They were eventually extradited to China. The Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China had chartered two planes to take them back. A senior official of China’s Criminal Investigation Department had himself come to Kathmandu to negotiate the extradition with Nepali authorities, as per the media portal.