Monday, 16 May, 2022

‘Illegal’ foreigners committing crimes

A section of foreign nationals staying illegally in Bangladesh have been involved in various horrendous crimes under the shelter and support of some Bangladeshi people.

Sources said illegal foreigners allegedly commit different criminal activities, including drug smuggling, ATM card forgery, currency counterfeiting and cheating.

Arrest of foreigners on charges of crimes is a common incident in the country. Over 1,000 foreigners have been arrested for their ‘involvement’ in crimes in the last few years, they added.

After getting release from jail on bail, they get involved in crimes again.

Intelligence sources say the arrested foreigners were staying illegally after the expiry of their visas.

The Special Branch of Police is working to monitor foreign nationals in Bangladesh. As many as 12,805 foreigners were staying illegally in the country till last year, they said.

There are allegations that many foreigners arriving legally in Bangladesh with employment and business documents get involved in illegal activities.

The passports and visas of foreigners have expired but many of them have allegedly got involved in organised crimes.

Md Mokabbir Hossain, secretary of the security services division of the Home Ministry, told the Daily Sun it would be very difficult to find the foreigners staying in Bangladesh.

“So, we are going to introduce an automation system. We may know the real-time visa status of the foreigners through the system. During their stay, we will get notification that his/her visa will expire soon.”  Mokabbir hoped that they would launch the service in February 2022.

“After that it will be easy to track illegal foreigners living in the country,” he added.

According to law enforcement agencies, at least 3,000 foreign nationals living illegally in the capital are involved in criminal activities. Most of them are from Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil.

The intelligence report submitted recently to the ministry said police do not find passports of the illegal foreign nationals after arrest.

In most cases, they deliberately hide their passports. Under the circumstances, it becomes difficult to decide which country he/she will be sent to.

The report mentions that the investigators have to spend a lot of time finding out their identity.

There are no embassies of many such countries in Bangladesh. In this case, it takes so much time verifying the citizenship of the detainee and collecting travel documents.

Even, it is observed that the police have not got cooperation from many embassies while looking into the cases of their nationals.

The report further states that the cost of repatriation and relocation is mentioned in section 14 of the Foreign Order 1951. Arrangements are also being made with the immigration police to keep the illegal immigrants in a ‘safe home’ and to cover all expenses, including plane tickets, before sending them back to their home country. But there is no safe home in the country. There is no allocation for repatriation.

A few weeks ago, a gang swindled crores of taka in the name of parcels from abroad. A native gang has been associated with it. Hundreds of women have been accused of falling into the trap of this cycle. Many families have broken up after being cheated. The cycle is located in the capital’s Gulshan, Banani, Uttara, Dhanmondi and Bhatara areas.

According to the SB, more than 3,000 foreigners are living in the capital alone. Every day they are involved in various crimes.

Additional Director General (Operations) of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Colonel KM Azad said that for a long time now, foreign gangs have been involved in various crimes, including deception by taking hostages of common people.

The criminal gangs are still active. RAB personnel have also arrested several foreign nationals in recent times, he added.

Arms, yaba, heroin, counterfeit dollars, counterfeit money and even VoIP equipment have recently been recovered from members of the foreign gangs.

Hazrat Shahjalal Airport Apbn sources said so far Apbn has arrested many members of foreign gangs who are staying illegally and involved in various crimes.

According to the intelligence sources, this domestic gang sometimes cheats people in the guise of customs officers and sometimes in the guise of a customs intelligence agency.

By opening an account in the name of an ordinary egg trader and mason, the gang swindled crores of taka through that account.

ASP ANM Imran Khan, assistant director of RAB's legal and media wing, told the Daily Sun, “RAB has arrested 211 illegal foreign nationals since its inception in 2004. Four foreign pistols, eight magazines, 27 rounds of ammunition, one LG, one knife, 4.1kgs of heroin, 19.23 lakh yaba, VoIP equipment and a large quantity of items were seized from the arrested persons.”

Recently, detectives discovered that a Nigerian gang has been transacting fraudulent money by opening bank accounts in the name of at least 51 people. The ringleader of the cycle is Saifur Rahman Mithu.

On September 27, Mithu and his two accomplices were remanded for two days by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

According to the people involved in the investigation, they have embezzled crores of taka by forming a ring with the Nigerians.

In another incident, a team of Dhaka Metropolitan Gulshan Division arrested three persons, including Morzina and Shahidul, involved in various misdeeds including fraud.

During their interrogation on remand, it was learned that Shahidul had an immoral relationship with Morzina about a year ago in exchange for money. At that time, she was offered to get involved in this cycle.

Morzina was successful in the first assignment. Later, Morzina-Shahidul gang was involved in various misdeeds in association with a Nigerian criminal gang.

On October 7, the Cyber and Special Crime Unit of the Detective Branch (DB) of the police arrested seven people, including two foreign nationals, from Uttara West Police Station and Cantonment Police Station area of the capital.

They used the apps to run illegal interest businesses in the name of digital microfinance and to defraud customers. They were sent to jail on completion of two days’ remand.