The physical remand of five Chinese nationals suspected of ATM skimming and fraud in Karachi was extended until Jan 18 by a judicial magistrate on Monday.

One of the Chinese men was arrested in Bahadurabad, while three others were arrested in Defence Housing Authority Phase II on Sunday. Acting on their information, the police were able to arrest one more Chinese national allegedly involved in ATM theft.

Police and Federal Investigation Agency officials described the foreigners as members of an 'organised gang' which had stolen 'millions of rupees' from residents of Karachi.

Incidents of ATM skimming in Karachi appear to have first surfaced in 2016, but have increased in frequency since then, with millions being stolen from hundreds of bank accounts in December 2017.

Find out more: How to keep your bank account secure from ATM skimmers

Police had already secured remand for the foreigners, which was extended today by the court to aid the investigation.

The Investigation Officer (IO) said the Chinese nationals claimed not to know English or Urdu. The judicial magistrate expressed displeasure over the absence of a translator and ordered the IO to arrange one for the next hearing, warning him that the suspects would be sent to jail if such measures were not taken.

The judge asked one of the suspects, using hand gestures, if he had been tortured by police in custody, to which the suspect responded, using gestures, saying that he had been hit on the head while his eyes were covered.

The IO denied the claim, saying that the suspect had intentionally crashed into a wall to hurt himself.

The court deliberated over how to confirm the names and father's names of the suspects and decided finally to make them write them down on a paper and sound them out.

The judicial magistrate repeated their names and the suspects thus confirmed their names and parent's names. The court also matched the names provided with those recorded in the first information report.

Passports, an ATM skimming machine, fake ATM cards and a secret camera were recovered from the suspects were presented in court.

The court asked the IO what additional information or evidence needed to be recovered, to which the officer responded saying that prepaid ATM cards, an MSR machine, bank cards and other implements needed to be recovered.

Subsequently, the court extended the physical remand of the suspects to Jan 18 and directed the IO to inform the court of progress in the investigation in the next hearing.

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