Home Technology More than 21,000 SIM cards used in illegal business

More than 21,000 SIM cards used in illegal business


Kathmandu, August 14, 204: Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had started “Operation Voice Fox” against perpetrators of call bypass crime from August 31, 2010.

Altogether 135 people have been arrested from 88 places during this operation.

One hundred four among those arrestees are Nepalis while 31 are foreigners. The police have seized 21,709 SIM cards distributed by telecommunication companies and equipments used in Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

According to Bureau’s Spokesperson Diwesh Lohani, all these SIM cards were used in illegal works. Cases have been filed against the arrestees in the court with demand of more than 11 billion rupees as fine.

What is VOIP?

CIB Chief DIG Nawaraj Silwal says, “Technology of routing international call via internet is VOIP. People involved in this trade have been using VOIP router to bring more and more incoming calls from abroad through their gateway.”

Hijacking foreign calls on the midway like this causes harm to licensed telecommunication companies’ incoming foreign calls.

According to DIG Silwal, call bypass criminals have been conducting their business in secrecy.


How is it done?

Generally, telephone operators operate international telephone calls through international carrier. These international carriers play the role of mediator between telecom operators of two countries.

These international carriers receive and send telephone conversations between two telecom operators. For this, telecom operators carry out a certain agreement with international carriers.

Telephone calls are priced accordingly. But illegal telephone call bypassing agents, in collusion with international carriers, bring international calls in through a different VOIP router.

The illegal act of call bypass is operated from any place with mobile network and internet.

CIB has found that these criminals have upgraded their system to GSM technology and have started GOIP to commit the crime.

This crime is being committed in all major cities of the country, CIB informed.

International network

CIB has also found that international criminal network is involved in this crime. Main criminals reside outside the country while their local mules look after call bypass equipment and SIM recharge.

CIB arrested Nepali national Sanjaya Giri and Bangladeshi citizen Moazzam Mohammad from Kathmandu for being involved in call bypass. The police say that Bangladeshis, Indians and Chinese are involved in this crime.

Legal provision

Section 47, sub-section 5 of Telecommunications Act 1996 has defined VOIP as a crime. Law provides that a person involved in this crime will be fined in proportionate to the loss incurred or awarded five years of imprisonment or both.

Control methods

Even though the police have constantly raided places where call bypass take place and arrested people, this crime has not stopped. With police’s activeness, call bypass is on the wane but it has not been uprooted.

CIB Chief Silwal says, “Since criminals use the highest technology, it has proved difficult to control this crime.”

Call bypass can be stopped to a large extent if SIM distribution companies and internet service provider companies are strict, Silwal argues.

By Gajendra Basnet