KARACHI -  Police Sunday claimed to have arrested five Chinese nationals red-handed for their alleged involvement in ATM skimming frauds in Karachi.

Police said that an organised gang of foreigners operating from China and Pakistan is behind the ATM skimming frauds in a city and they are in enough numbers.

The four Chinese nationals were arrested from Defence while another from Bahadurabad. The police also claimed to have recovered around Rs2.9 million, skimming devices and ATM cards from their possession. The arrested Chinese nationals were later handed over to the Cybercrime Circle of the Federal Investigation Agency for further investigations.

The three Chinese nationals were arrested from Phase II, Defence. “The police arrested the Chinese nationals while doing suspicious activities inside ATM machines,” said Clifton division SP Asad Malhi during a press conference on Sunday evening. “One more of their comrade was later arrested on the information provided by the already arrested three Chinese nationals.” The arrested foreigners had used fake master ATM cards to draw money from different accounts of public.

SP Malhi said that the Chinese nationals arrested had reached Karachi, Pakistan some three days ago on multiple business visa, who had revealed that they were called from China to Pakistan from a man in Karachi, who offered them good jobs in Karachi.

“We had arrived there for a work but the ‘gang leader asked us for the ATM skimming and provided us ten thousand Chinese currency in exchange of ATM skimming,” the officer said while quoting the arrested foreigners. “The gang leaders running an organized gang and all members of the gang are foreigners and involved in the ATM skimming.” SP Malhi further said that all the Chinese nationals arrested from Saddar, Bahadurabad and Defence belongs to a same group. The police also claimed to have recovered Rs2.3 million, ATM skimming devices and hundreds of ATM cards from their possession.

Similarly, another Chinese national was arrested for ATM skimming by Bahadurabad police. Police officials said that the police reacted on the information about the ATM skimming fraud in the Shabbirabad neighbourhood at Tipu Sultan Road within Bahadurabad police station remits. “A 15 call was received regarding suspected Chinese nationals skimming ATMs of Summit Bank and MCB Bank on Tipu Sultan Road,” said the police. “Police responded within ten minutes and managed to arrest one Chinese national.”

The Chinese national arrested has been identified as Xu Zhuping. The police also have recovered an ATM skimming device, Rs0.65million, identity card, passport and a cell phone from the suspect’s possession,  the police said, added that however, the three suspects had been managed to flee away in a suspected vehicle. Police officials said that CCTV footage has been obtained to further investigate the case.

The incidents of ATM skimming are rising in Karachi nowadays. These were the second and third similar arrests to have occurred in less than a week as earlier on January 10, police arrested two Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in ATM skimming fraud by Federal Investigation Agency. They were identified as Zhonga Qiachang and Zhong Shaowen. The FIA had arrested them red handed while installing the ATM skimming devices in ATM machine, HBL Branch on Abdullah Haroon Road.

ATM skimming can be regarded as identity theft for debit cards. Fraudsters employ different techniques to record your PIN code for accessing the money in an account. In some instances, the schemers stick a fake card-reader on the ATM, while in others they place a fake keypad on the machine to get your PIN code.  Another technique employed in this crime is the use of a hidden camera, which records your PIN code and conveys it to fraudsters. A few ATM skimmers also change the entire display of the ATM.