KATHMANDU, Aug 12: “Send your daughter and sister to me; I want to sleep with them.”
When this message popped up on Ganga Devi´s (name changed) mobile she did not want to bother her husband by telling him about the message.
On June 16, she received another message: “Let´s go somewhere to a secret place and make love...”
Gangadevi, 32, a resident of Babarmahal, frequently received several similar SMSes and unexpected calls from separate numbers. But she could neither share it with her husband nor the police.
Her husband Puran (name changed), a worker in the film industry, noticed that his wife had been having sleepless nights. When he inquired her, she hesitantly shared the problem. Later, upon her husband´s insistence she registered an FIR at Hanuman Dhoka Police Range. But the lewd messages didn´t stop coming.
When Puran felt he could take it no longer, he called back the numbers and threatened the guys to stop sending such messages. The messages never came again. Gangadevi is a lot happier now. “The guys have stopped calling and sending SMSes to my wife since.”
Gangadevi´s is not a one-off case. Everyday Hanuman Dhoka Police Range receives three to four similar complaints. However, the police find it hard to track such offenders. An official at Hanuman Dhoka said, “It is very difficult to identify such offenders. Once we start investigation, they immediately discard the number and start using new ones.”
Another victim, Seema (name changed), 22, a resident of Jawalakhel, filed a similar complaint at Lalitpur District Police Office. To her surprise, she did not stop receiving lewd text messages and pictures sent by a youth who professed to have fallen in love with her. "I have switched off my mobile for days now,” she explained.
Dhiraj Pratap Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at Hanuman Dhoka said, “We do not have proper equipment and experts to handle cases of cyber crime. Extracting call details takes time and by the time we receive them the wrongdoer destroys the evidence.”
The number of complaints registered at police stations show that cyber crime has become a major challenge facing the Metropolitan Police Crime Division that deals with such cases. DSP Singh said most of the victims of cyber crimes are women and teenage girls. According to him, only 30 percent of the complaints are registered with sufficient evidences and due procedure under the Electronic Transaction Act, 2063.
According to the data available at the Metropolitan Police Range, cases have been filed only against 12 individuals during the fiscal years 010/011 and 011/012. It is remarkable that all those accused are men while the petitioners all women.
A cyber law expert, Baburam Aryal, said, “Theoretically, the existing laws and acts are dynamic, but we find inherent contradictions.” He said revamping the judicial system and investigation methodology along with creating awareness can minimize such crimes. “While we have to deal with latest innovations and advanced technologies our laws are outdated.”
In December 2009, Nepal Police set up Communication, Information and Technology (CIT) Crime Cell with a view to curbing cyber crimes in the country. Since the establishment of CIT Crime Cell, only 83 cases related to cyber crimes have been registered. Some of the cases registered by CIT cell, include those relating to illegal VOIP, email threat, password hacking, phishing, SMS threat, illegal data accessing, data theft and ATM frauds, among others, said Nepal Police Spokesperson Binod Singh.
“The accused are charged under the Electronic Transaction Act and some cases are still under investigation,” he said. He claimed a majority of those seeking justice come up with complaints but they lack enough evidences to nail the perpetrators.
However, Gangadevi and Seema do not buy Singh´s argument. “We have cooperated with the police by providing each and every detail. The police cannot afford to be negligent on any pretext while carrying out an investigation,” said Gangadevi.
Cyber crimes registered in 010/011 and 011/012
Facebook Imposters: 44
Email threat /SMS : 7
Illegal data access: 3
ATM fraud: 1
Web site dispute: 7