KARACHI: After the arrest of a Chinese national for allegedly stealing the data of a private bank from its ATM facility through a skimming device, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has found “evidence about presence” of more men having the same nationality associated with “an organised group” who are still actively operating in the city and one of them, after stealing data from another private bank through the same technique, has already made a transaction, officials told Dawn on Tuesday.
An FIA official associated with its cyber crime cell said the agency had received “multiple signs” and “a complaint or two” from different banks that lent credence to the belief that there “more Chinese operators are operating” in the city.
“The most worrying information came from a private bank which said that a transaction had been made from one of its branches in Defence Society through the stolen data,” the official said.
He, however, declined to share information about the amount transacted.
“The initial probe suggested that the data was stolen through the same technology that we earlier detected and which led to the arrest of the Chinese national. We have obtained information about more men of the same origin still doing the same job.”
The presence of the Chinese nationals allegedly stealing data from private banks through a skimming device emerged last month when the FIA arrested one of the suspects red-handed and booked him under sections of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance and the Pakistan Penal Code.
The suspect, Xie Yi, was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand last week while one of his aides, Xie Rongjing, is still at large.
“Those two suspects landed in Pakistan on June 18 and started their job on June 20,” the official said.
“The investigation team connected dots which showed that the Chinese nationals are actively involved in that business with the assistance of some local operatives. They come here on business visa which is awarded on recommendation of a local organisation or individual. We have expanded the scope of our investigation and also approached the Chinese authorities here to find clues about those suspects.”
He said the FIA team had so far received only one such complaint which suggested the successful transaction and cash draw through the stolen data of one of the bank customers.
However, he said, there was a strong possibility of such an activity in future as well as the agency was not fully aware of the level of information stolen by the group from different banks’ ATM facilities.
“This is the first case of this nature,” said the official.
“We haven’t come across or investigated a case of this nature earlier. This case is also unique because the job is reportedly being done by some foreigners who are believed to be part of an organised group,” the official said.