Kathmandu, Feb. 2: In the past five years, police had detained at least 242 Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in various criminal activities in Nepal, according to Nepal Police Headquarters. Police Headquarters’ records between 2015 and 2019 have shown that involvement of Chinese citizens in criminal, financial and cybercrimes is on rise in Nepal. Police officials and ex-security officials attribute increasing involvement of Chinese nationals in crimes in Nepal to the latest government decision to waive visa fees to all Chinese wishing to visit Nepal. Since the introduction of visa fee waiver, Chinese nationals are getting such privilege mainly from the Nepali Embassy in Beijing, and the consulate offices in Lhasa, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. The government has been providing 15, 30 and 90 days’ visas to the Chinese tourists here. Four years ago, the then government led by KP Sharma Oli had decided to waive visa fees for Chinese tourists visiting Nepal. Prior to the arrest of 122 Chinese nationals from Kathmandu on December 23, 2019, the number of arrested Chinese nationals was 120, according to the police. On 31 August, 2019, Kathmandu Police had detained five Chinese and one China-born French national for their involvement in ATM hacking case in which they had withdrawn Rs. 12.63 million. The money was later recovered. According to former Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Nepal Police Jaya Bahadur Chand, Chinese nationals’ involvement in criminal activities began in Nepal from 2003. The year 2003 was the peak time for illegal smuggling of red sandalwood in Nepal, he said. In that year, Chinese nationals were found engaged in smuggling of red sandalwood and wildlife parts, Chand said. Then after, Chinese nationals got involved in gold and US dollar smuggling via Nepal’s northern border of Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk, he said. According to him, at present, some Chinese nationals with criminal mindset were entering Nepal taking tourist visas and engaging in ATM hacking, cybercrime, human trafficking, online gambling and a few in drug smuggling. He said that such Chinese were making Nepal as their safest transit hub for doing financial and other organised crimes. “The latest case to prove this claim was the arrest of 122 Chinese nationals, who had been using Nepal as their hub for doing financial crime staying here and harming their home country,” Chand said. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and spokesperson of Nepal Police Shailesh Thapa Chhetri said that no citizen from any country could get an excuse to commit crime staying in Nepal. “Be it Chinese or American, nobody will have such an excuse,” he said. Whoever commits crime staying in Nepal is subject to face action as per Nepal’s law, Chhetri said. Major crimes committed by Chinese citizens On November 26, 2019, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)-based police detained three Chinese nationals for illegally possessing eight kilograms of gold. Also, on April 12, 2019, three Chinese nationals -- Mad Yinhua, Ma Fuming and Zhang Zhiyang -- were arrested for smuggling 3.3 kilos gold from TIA that was concealed in their rectums. Likewise, a female Chinese national was arrested from the TIA for possessing 3.0 kg gold on May 6, 2018, and another 2.0 kg gold on December 23, 2017 was seized from a Chinese citizen at the TIA. More importantly, in the case of seizure of 88 kg gold from Thamel on September 3, 2017, the police had confirmed the involvement of a Chinese citizen (absconder) as a main actor in the smuggling, although Manoj Adhikari, the gold mule in the case, was arrested. Dollar smuggling Under the charge, from the TIA police detained a Chinese national along with USD 122,400 on October 29, 2018. Also, on September 29, 2017, police seized USD 46,480 from a Chinese woman at the airport. Likewise, Chinese national Li Wang was arrested with USD 50,000 from Rasuwa border on September 20, 2017. Similarly, three Chinese nationals were arrested on August 20, 2018, along with 300 grams of Sea Horse and a hide of a tiger from Thamel. Nepali bride trafficked to China In August 2019, a Nepali bride was trafficked to China, and for the act, the anti-human trafficking bureau of Nepal Police detained four Chinese and six Nepalis. Chinese racketeers were found to have provided up to Rs. 1 million to the Nepali agent for arranging fake marriage with a woman for trafficking purpose.