KATHMANDU, Oct 30: Given the open border regime between Nepal and India that requires no visa to travel, fugitives from Nepal should find India as their preferred hiding place. However, the data maintained by Nepal Police over the past several years has shown otherwise.
According to National Central Bureau (NCB), which looks after the coordination between Nepal Police and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), over 61 percent of Nepali fugitives arrested abroad with the help of Interpol were repatriated home from various Gulf countries.
A total of 18 Nepali fugitives hiding abroad have been repatriated home from various countries with the help of Interpol over the past few years. Of them, five were arrested from the United Arab Emirates and two each from Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
Only three Nepali criminals sought by Interpol were arrested from India. Police also arrested one criminal each from Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, and China over the period.
According to the NCB, the tendency of Nepali criminals to flee to the Middle East is the result of the easiness to acquire visa to travel to Middle East nations and the convenience in hiding in the mass of Nepali laborers there.
“The criminals have to break no sweat to enter Middle East nations and it is very easy to hide in the huddle of Nepali migrant workers in those nations. On top of that, it is very easy to get a job in those nations.” Officer In-charge (OIC) of NCB, Superintendent of Police (SP) Umesh Raj Joshi said, “These factors add up to the huge percentage of criminals being arrested in the Middle East.”
Nepal became a member of Interpol in 1967. This international police organization with 192 member nations issues red notices against international criminals, prompting the member countries to find and arrest wanted persons with a view of extradition or similar lawful action, and diffusion notices. It has till date issued a total of 84 red notices and 59 diffusion notices against Nepali criminals out of which 30 red notices and 24 diffusion notices are valid as of now.
Since Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sarbendra Khanal took over as the head of NCB in April this year, 14 red notices have been issued against Nepali international criminals. Out of them, 12 are wanted for their involvement in the 33 kg gold scam, one for smuggling illegal wildlife parts and one for currency forgery.
Fifty percent (nine) of the Nepali criminals detained abroad were arrested in 2018 and about 28 percent (5) were arrested in 2017. According to SP Joshi, the rise in the number of criminals arrested abroad is the result of the increase in awareness in the public and the police about Interpol and NCB. The police do not have substantial data on the arrest of international criminals on a yearly basis since very few Nepali international criminals were arrested abroad prior to 2017.
The data maintained by NCB also shows that a total of seven international criminals were arrested in Nepal. Of them, three were Chinese nationals.