Illegal VoIP gang busted 39 including 37 foreigners

December 22nd, 2013

VoIP gang busted
39 including 37 foreigners held, equipment seized in city’s Uttara

The Rab last night arrested 37 foreigners and two Bangladeshis with a huge quantity of illegal VoIP equipment in a house in the capital’s Uttara.

Of the foreigners, five are Chinese and 32 Taiwanese. The other two arrestees are their driver Habib and security guard Kamrul, said Habibur Rahman, director of Rab’s media wing.

On information, a Rab-1 team raided the six-storey building at sector-12 in Uttara in the evening and seized VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) equipment worth around Tk 1 crore, said Rahman.

The law enforcers also seized US dollars from the foreigners and around Tk 1.5 lakh from the security guard.

Quoting Habib, the Rab official said the foreigners, including seven women, rented the building and had been running the illegal business for at least one and a half years.

Though they used to identify themselves as apparel traders, they were staying in Bangladesh on tourist visa, and got visa extension at different times, said Rahman.

They used land phones and high-speed internet connections to run the business.

Rahman said they couldn’t quiz the arrestees properly as they don’t speak English well.

Rab suspected that some locals might have been involved in the illegal business.

Though VoIP is not illegal in Bangladesh, it is illegal to transmit the calls bypassing the proper channel, as it deprives the government of revenue, said an official of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

In the past, SIM cards of different telecom companies had been used in running illegal VoIP business, but these foreigners used landlines, said the BTRC official on condition of anonymity.

High-bandwidth connections of state-run BTCL were found at the building, added the official, who visited the spot.

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