KATHMANDU: With the rise in the number of Chinese nationals visiting Nepal, there has been a surge in the number of criminal activities they have been committing here of late.
According to the Department of Immigration (DoI), the number of Chinese nationals living in Nepal illegally is increasing every year.
The government of Nepal deported 233 Chinese nationals for their involvement in illegal activities in 2020 alone.
Of those people, 48 were deported for overstay whereas 185 people were deported for various other crimes.
To be more specific, three were sent home for human trafficking, eight for entering without a visa, and one each for gold smuggling, revenue leakage and forged passports.
Similarly, two persons were banished for trading counterfeit notes, one for forging passports and 169 for various other offenses.
The Nepal government has deported 1,468 Chinese nationals living in Nepal illegally in the last seven years.
According to the Department, the number of Chinese nationals living in Nepal illegally is increasing. 62 people were deported for overstaying in 2014, which increased to 87 in 2015. The number reached 109 in 2016.
Similarly, the government deported 212 and 357 Chinese for overstaying in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The number of overstaying Chinese nationals reached 415 in 2019.
In the meantime, Nepal prosecuted four, seventeen and six more Chinese for their involvement in various illegal activities in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively. They were deported after release.
Non-tourist Chinese outnumber the tourists from China
According to DoI sources, the number of Chinese nationals coming to Nepal is increasing every year.
Statistics show that the number of Chinese citizens coming on business visas was 1,579 and 1,829 in 2017 and 2018. The number of Chinese coming to Nepal on similar visas reached 2,713 in 2019.
The Department’s record shows that 1,290 Chinese had obtained non-tourist visas in 2017. The number of people obtaining such visas reached 2,061 in 2018. This further scaled up in 2019. In 2019 the number of such visa holders reached 2,513.
Chinese tourists are also on the rise
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal is also increasing every year. In 2015, there were 66,984 Chinese tourists, which rose by 20 percent in 2016 taking the number to 80,553.
This number further increased by 30 percent and reached104,829 in 2017.
Similarly, the number increased by about 30 percent taking the number to 136,122 in 2018. This went up by 24.5 percent again making the number of Chinese tourists coming here 169,543 in 2019.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal has increased by 153 percent in past five years.
Legal provisions relating to punishment
The government of Nepal can deport foreign nationals who work against the laws of Nepal. According to the Immigration Act, 1992, foreigners deported by the Government of Nepal cannot re-enter Nepal during the period of expulsion.
Sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the Act has the provision of a fine. It says:
Any person who violates, or causes to be violated, Sub-section (2) of Section 9 related with the expulsion of the foreigners shall, for the first time, be punished with a fine not exceeding Rs 25,000 or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or in the cases where such person repeats the violations thereof, he shall be punished with a fine of up to fifty thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or with both, for each violation.
Similarly, the Sub-section 4 of the same section says:
Except for the matters laid down in the Sub-sections above, a person who commits any act in contravention of this Act or the Rules framed hereunder may be awarded by the Director-General a fine of up to fifty thousand rupees, and the amount in question held to be payable by such person shall also be realized from such person.
Section 11 of the Act has the provision relating to the appeal from the dissatisfied parties.
It says that a party who is not satisfied with the punishment imposed under subsection (4) of Section 10 may file an appeal in the Appellate Court within 35 days.