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37 foreigners hid info of their stay in Bangladesh

Publication Date : 26-12-2013


The 37 foreigners, who had been arrested with a huge quantity of illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment on Sunday night, had been living illegally in the rented house in the capital's Uttara.

As per rule, a landlord must report to the local police authority about a foreign tenant, mentioning the purpose of his visit and the duration of stay.

The landlord also must submit details of a foreign tenant's passport to the authority, Khandaker Rezaul Hasan, OC of Uttara Pashchim Police Station, said yesterday.

“But the owner of the six-storey house at sector 12 did not submit papers of 32 Taiwanese and five Chinese tenants to us," he said.

The foreigners had been living in the house for the last one and a half years.

Latifunnesa Shamsuddin is the owner of the house and her manager Faruque Hossain used to communicate with the tenants from the owner's side.

Earlier, a case was filed against the arrested foreigners for running VoIP business illegally. On Tuesday, a Dhaka court placed them on a two-day remand in connection with the case.

Both Latifunnesa and Faruque are accused in the case and they are also on the run, said police.

Rab-1 sources said the foreigners used to pay Tk 2.75 lakh (US$3,535) a month as house rent for the six-storey building, and one of their vehicles, which were seized during the drive on Sunday, had no valid documents.

The foreigners preferred to go out only in their vehicles and local people seldom got the opportunity to see them in broad daylight, said several neighbours.

During the raid, the law enforcers also seized 37 passports from the spot. However, the Rab team did not find passports of 14 among the 37 foreigners.

Kismat Hayat, commanding officer of Rab 1, yesterday said the foreigners came to the country as tourists and extended their stay several times.

However, it was not clear how they managed to get extension of their visas from the immigration office, he said.

A tourist cannot extend his/her visa without sponsorship of a Bangladeshi citizen, said a former immigration official of the home ministry, who asked not to be named.

The Rab official also said the Chinese mission in Dhaka was yet to take any initiative for their arrested nationals.

A Taiwanese diplomat, who arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday from its New Delhi mission, officially approached the elite force for offering legal assistance to her compatriots.

Contacted, the diplomat refused to make any comment on the development from her government's side.

Meanwhile, the OC of Uttara Pashchim Police Station said they could not take the arrestees on remand due to shortage of special prison vans.

"Police would start quizzing them from Thursday (today)," he said, adding that the arrestees are currently in Dhaka Central Jail.




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