SINDHUPALCHOWK, Oct 13: Smugglers have been found using Nepal as transit point for smuggling contraband animal parts and orchids to China.
Police in Sindhupalchowk district on Saturday seized a truck carrying 28 kilo of dead seahorses, 38.8 kilo of pangolin scales and two kilos of Sunakhari (an orchid variety).
The truck seized on the Araniko Highway was headed for China, police said.
This is the second time police in the district seized seahorse bound for China. "Just two months ago in August, we caught a vehicle carrying 2 kg of sea horse. This indicates that sea horses are regularly smuggled to China through our border," said Superintendent of Police (SP) Kamal Giri, who is in charge of Sindhupalchowk border security office.
Police said the contraband items were hidden in the truck with a false bottom.
"The driver had hidden all the items above the driver´s seat," said Kamal.
Police have also arrested the driver of the truck Sangbo Sherpa, 24, of Tatopani VDC-7 of the district. Sangbo has confessed to police that he was lured into smuggling the items after a Chinese citizen promised him Rs 20,000 for the job.
Seahorse is small fish with horse-like head and is found in the sea. According to Acting District Forest Officer Pramod Bhattarai, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has banned trading of endangered species including seahorse.
Bhattarai said seahorse is considered as highly prized aphrodisiac in China.