Rohingya involvement in smuggling, kidnapping on the rise

As many as 116 were arrested this year alone

The Rohingya community, who came to Bangladesh from Myanmar, have been involved in various crimes including kidnapping, drug peddling, illegal trading of counterfeit money, robbery and gold smuggling. 

Law enforcers said that the Rohingyas are hard to control even though hundreds from the community have been arrested and charged with numerous crimes in the past years. 

Police say most of the criminals who are involved with the sale of drugs including Yaba, Ice and Phensedyl were identified as Rohingyas. 

Rohingyas are now not only limited to drug dealing; they are also involved in major crimes like robbery, extortion and contract killing, they told Bangla Tribune.

Chittagong Narcotics Control Department said in the last six years (from 2017 to June this year), 462 Rohingya men and women have been arrested from Chittagong.

Moreover 1,329,825 pieces of yaba, some Tk190,000 and three gold bars were recovered from them at different times.

Sources at the department also said that 13 Rohingyas were arrested in 2017, 30 in 2018, 26 in 2019, 91 in 2020, 186 in 2021, and 116 till June this year with drugs, money and gold bars.

They all were sent to jail. 

File Photo: People walk through a marketplace at a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 Allison Joyce/Dhaka Tribune

Narcotics Control Department’s Metro Region Deputy Director Mukul Jyoti Chakma told Bangla Tribune: “Rohingyas are now a big cause of concern in Chittagong. They are being used to sell and carry drugs as well.”

“Recently we have recovered three gold bars from them. This shows that the Rohingyas are not only limited to selling and carrying drugs; they are now smuggling,” he added.

According to the Kotwali police station, three Rohingyas were arrested last Sunday with over Tk18,000 fake notes.

Kotwali police station Officer-in-Charge Md Jahidul Kabir told Bangla Tribune: “Three Rohingyas with fake notes were caught red-handed after we got a tip from a source. This is the first time this sort of incident has been reported.”

“The arrestees said they are involved with a gang. They ran away from their camps to stay in Chittagong. They are also involved in a murder.” 

Previously on Friday, a mother-son duo was arrested from Chittagong's Jungle Salimpur area with gold bars worth Tk1.5 crore.

They were living in a rented house, hiding their identities. As many as eight gold bars, five chains, a pair of bangles, three pairs of earrings and more were seized from them. 

Meanwhile, in the last two days four Bangladeshis were kidnapped by Rohingya miscreants in separate incidents. They also demanded ransom.

However, on Monday evening, police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members managed to detain the kidnappers. 

The four victims were also rescued after an eight hour operation.

Locals say as police and other law enforcers have beefed up security inside the camps, Rohingyas are now running away and staying at different places across Bangladesh. 

Tariqul Islam, captain of Armed Police Battalion (APBn-16) said: "36 people, including two Bangladeshis, have been rescued from 30 kidnappings in seven months in my area. Seven kidnappers have been arrested in five cases so far.”

If you analyze the incidents, it is very obvious that these crimes are being committed by Rohingyas for drugs, he added. 

Again on Monday night, a Rohingya man was shot dead in a shootout between two groups at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya. 

The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group who predominantly follow Islam and resided in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

After the military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25, 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingyas – mostly children and women – crossed over to Bangladesh.

They joined more than 400,000 existing refugees who were already living in squalid, cramped camps in Cox’s Bazar.

In May, the JWG’s Myanmar part urged the Bangladeshi part to commence the repatriation of the prior-verified 778 Muslim and 444 Hindu Rohingyas.