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Benefit of Doubt: Three Chinese nationals acquitted in ATM-skimming case

Three Chinese nationals have acquitted by a district court in Karachi on Thursday from charges of committing cybercrime and ATM-skimming due to lack of evidence.

The FIA in 2018 had detained chinese nationals Xu Zhuping, Zhang Qiaocheng and Zhong Shaowen and charged them with committing electronic crimes, cyber-crime, fraud and forgery in different areas of Karachi.

The District and Sessions Judge (South) Amjad Ali Bohio announced the verdict that was reserved earlier after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

In the court’s order, it has stated that the prosecution failed to prove its case against the suspects, keeping it in consideration the court is acquitting all of them of the charges by giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The court also directed the jail authorities to release the Chinese nationals with immediate effect.

According to the prosecution, the suspets had “illegally accessed the consumers’ data and withdrawn Rs650,000 by using forged ATM cards in an un-authorised manner”.

The prosecution told the court that Qiaocheng and Shaowen were allegedly spotted under suspicious circumstances around an ATM machine installed at a Habib Bank Limited (HBL) branch on Abdullah Haroon Road in January 2018.

He also informed that the FIA officials, later,  captured them while allegedly trying to insert a skimming device on the same ATM machine “thereby committing un-authorised access to the critical infrastructure information system with an intention to cause damage to the public property”.

Separately, the court also acquitted Zhuping in an identical case of skimming an ATM machine of the Muslim Commercial Bank branch on Tipu Sultan Road.

Samra Mazhar

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