Karachi police on Wednesday took two Chinese men into custody from the Zainab Market area of the metropolis over suspicions they were stealing data of bank customers through ATM skimming devices.

Police said they had recovered ATM skimming machines and other equipment from the possession of the suspects.

The officials said the suspects had been roaming the area suspiciously close to the ATM of a private bank when they were asked to stop by bank employees.

Upon being asked to stop, the two men tried to flee but were caught by citizens and handed over to the police.

Saddar Superintendent of Police Tauqeer Naeem informed DawnNews that the Chinese men had also visited the same ATM three days ago.

"There has been a sharp rise in ATM fraud in Karachi, and the devices that the two men were carrying are similar to the devices used in other cases," SP Naeem said.

He said police has gotten in touch with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the suspects had been handed over to the agency.

Incidents of ATM skimming fraud have made headlines recently, with HBL Bank confirming that over Rs10 million had been stolen from 559 of its customers' accounts through compromised cards.

The transactions had been traced to Indonesia, China, and other countries, HBL had said.

The FIA suggests that the use of “obsolete technology” by banks for ATMs and decades-old security systems employed at ATM booths have made them an easy target for any “organised foreign group”.

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