Kathmandu, Aug 28: It has just been three months since Nepal Police brought a dedicated cyber bureau into operation in a bid to control cybercrime, but every day, a large number of people throng the bureau office located in Bhotahiti, Kathmandu, to file complaints.
The bureau, since its establishment in Bhotahiti, has recorded a total of 320 complaints, all of them related to social media such as Facebook, Youtube and WhatsApp. Of them, 140 complaints were filed only within 30 days from July 15 to August 15 of the current fiscal.
Senior Superintendent of Police Nabinda Aryal at the bureau said, “Some five to 20 persons visit the bureau to file complaints on a daily basis, and most of them are girls and women.”
Two college girls in uniform, who were spotted at the bureau office, told THT that they felt relatively comfortable visiting the bureau office to file complaints. They had visited the bureau after someone started sending vulgar pictures on Facebook messenger. Before visiting the bureau, they had visited Metropolitan Police Crime Division at Teku, but had returned from there after a police officer there suggested that they should visit the bureau.
Until now, cases related to cybercrime inside Kathmandu valley were filed by the MPCD, Teku, and Central Investigation Bureau.
Police record shows that incidents of cybercrime have drastically increased in the past three years. A total of 1,318 cybercrime cases were filed in fiscal 2016-17.
The number had increased to 1,694 in fiscal 2017-18 and 2,209 in fiscal 2018-19. Comparative data of three years shows that cybercrime grew by nearly 37 per cent from 2016 to 2019.
Among all the complaints, police record shows that above 90 per cent of complaints are related to Facebook, followed by Youtube, Imo and WhatsApp simultaneously.
Bikash Shrestha, Deputy Inspector General of the cyber bureau said that taking action against cyber offenders was becoming more complicated due to lack of coordination with social media sites most of which were registered in the USA and abided by their own laws.
“Until and unless such social sites have their offices in the country, or we establish official relationship with such corporate offices, we will continue facing hurdles in crime investigation,” DIG Shrestha said.
Facebook doesn’t have an office in Nepal, thus the police have to request the Facebook’s regional office in Hong Kong to get access to any Facebook account for investigation.
SSP Aryal said establishment of the bureau had been helpful in receiving information in cases related to kidnapping, murder or rape. “Our continuous effort has made it comparatively easier to access data through Facebook.”
SSP Aryal, however, also said that they were still facing difficulty accessing data of fan-page and celebrities even if their involvement was seen in some crimes.
Until today, the issue of cybercrime is under the Electronic Transaction Act 2008, which has provision for five-year jail term or fine of Rs 100,000 if convicted of cybercrime.