A judicial magistrate on Monday extended the physical remand of five Chinese nationals, suspected of committing fraud and being involved in an automated teller machine (ATM) skimming in Karachi, until January 18.
Police on Sunday had arrested three Chinese men from Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Phase II while another from Bahadurabad area of the port city. After interrogation, the police were able arrest one more Chinese national for his alleged involvement in ATM theft.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police sources said that the arrested foreigners were members of an “organised criminal gang” who had skimmed “millions of rupees” from citizens in Karachi.
The first cases of ATM theft were reported in Karachi in 2016. Ever since, the cases of ATM skimming had increased manifold after millions of rupees were stolen from hundreds of bank accounts in December 2017 alone.
The investigation officer (IO) informed the court that the Chinese nationals did not seem to understand English or Urdu. On this, the judicial magistrate showed annoyance and ordered the IO to arrange a translator for the next hearing. The magistrate also warned the officer to take necessary measures for the next hearing, else the suspects would be sent to jail.
The judge asked one of the suspects, using hand gestures, if he had been tortured by police in custody, to which the suspect responded, using gestures, saying that he had been hit on the head while his eyes were covered. The IO denied the claim, saying that the suspect had intentionally crashed into a wall to hurt himself.
The court deliberated over how to confirm the names and father’s names of the suspects and decided finally to make them write them down on a paper and sound them out.
The judicial magistrate repeated their names and the suspects thus confirmed their names and parent’s names. The court also matched the names provided with those recorded in the first information report.
Passports, an ATM skimming machine, fake ATM cards and a secret camera were recovered from the suspects were also presented in the court. The court asked the IO what additional information or evidence needed to be recovered, to which the officer responded saying that prepaid ATM cards, an MSR machine, bank cards and other implements needed to be recovered.
Subsequently, the court extended the physical remand of the suspects to Jan 18 and directed the IO to inform the court of progress in the investigation in the next hearing.