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RN Desk: Foreign criminals are flocking in and indulging in serious crimes in the country to cash in on a friendly legal and immigration system of Bangladesh although the law-enforcement agencies often round them up.
According to media reports, at least 50 foreign criminals, including three members of the banned militant outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have been arrested in a month since December 22 last.
Intelligence sources said around one lakh foreign nationals are illegally doing jobs and business in Bangladesh without any permission from the government while many of them living in the country are said to be involved in serious crimes in a sheer abuse of the hospitality the country offers to its immigrants.
On Wednesday, just two days after the arrest of three suspected Pakistani militants, detective police detained three African nationals at a house in Uttara in the city.
They also seized 30 bundles of a special paper used in making the US dollar, 100 millilitres of a white chemical and manuals from the house.
The detainees are Sen Karine Natti and Mekoo Sandio Nathalie Laurel from Cameroon and a man, Perez Y Perez Efrain from Guatemala.
DB police said the preliminary interrogations indicated that the arrested persons were members of an international gang. Detectives are now investigating whether they have any links with local gangs.
On October last year, Interpol had informed DB police that some foreign citizens were making fake currencies in Bangladesh. Following the information, the DB police arrested the criminals during a drive.
Addressing a press briefing, DB Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam said, “Bangladesh welcomes tourists and many foreigners take advantage of such amiable policy to enter and start illegal businesses in the country.”
“The immigration authorities should scrutinise papers of foreigners well before letting them enter the country,” he added.
In reply to a question why law enforcers are not being able to stop such criminal activities by foreigners, DB official Monirul said such miscreants, mostly from African nations, often took advantage of Bangladesh’s liberal legal and immigration system.
In many cases in the past, detained foreigners either hid or failed to produce their passports, making it difficult for law enforcers to deal with them and communicate with the respective countries.
On January 19, DB police arrested three Pakistanis of Myanmar origin on suspicion of having links with the banned militant outfit TTP.
The TTP members Mehmud, Osman, and Fakhrul Hasan, were arrested at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in possession of a laptop containing manuals for making bombs and using firearms.
TTP is a leading group of Islamist militants operating in Pakistan with the intention to enforce its version of the Sharia.
On December 20, TTP threatened to attack the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad for execution of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah’s verdict.
Intelligence sources said many foreign nationals are not only doing jobs in different Bangladeshi organisations but also involved in VoIP business, drug smuggling, bank note forgery, dollar manipulation and militancy.
The foreigners involved in criminal activities are residing in the capital’s Uttra, Banani, Gulshan, Baridhara, Rampura, Karwan Bazar and Farmgate areas.
They hail from various countries, including China, Africa, Taiwan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, India, Ghana, Congo, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Algeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan.
Earlier on December 22, Rapid action Battalion (RAB) personal arrested 37 foreigners and six Bangladeshis for illegally running Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business with a huge quantity of illegal VoIP equipment in a house at Uttara. Of the foreigners, five are Chinese and 32 Taiwanese nationals.
Rab-1 team raided the six-storey building at sector-12 in Uttara and seized the VoIP equipment worth around Tk 1 crore.
Earlier on December 4, a Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal sentenced two Korean citizens to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Tk 2,000 each for drug trafficking.
The convicts are Zun Jeung Won, son of late Jun Jong Man, and Lee Jong Heung, son of late Lee Kue Meyoung.
Members of the law-enforcement agencies often arrest foreign nationals for committing various criminal acts and send them to jail. But most of the time, they flee the country after getting bail from the court.