KATHMANDU, Jan 13: A squad from the Metropolitan Police Range Office Hanumandhoka on Saturday seized ivory beads and garlands and 62 kilo of red sandalwood while they were being smuggled to China via Khasa.
A team lead by police inspector Manit Mukarung found the ivory items and red sandalwood hidden in the false bottom of a Toyota car at Auto Clinic garage at Pipalbot stupa in Bouddha.
Police have arrested the car driver Akal Bahadur Guwaju, 21, of Sindhupalchowk. Police said he was involved in transporting contraband items to China for a group for the past one year. Police said the seized items originated in India.
Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Rana Bahadur Chand, the chief of Metropolitan Police Range Office Kathmandu said, “We have found that the driver was hired by a group for smuggling the ivory items and red sandalwood. Now we are searching for the main culprits behind the racket.” He said the racket seems to be well-organized and one of the member has been identified as Tenjing Sherpa.
There are at least 68 security checkpoints between Nepal-India border and Nepal-China border. This seizure shows a well organized gang is involved the smuggling, Police inspector Mukarung said. Police said they have identified two key members of the gang but are still unable to arrest them.
Police said there is a huge demand for ivory items in China. Police have sent Akal to the Department of Forests along with the items and red sandalwood for further investigations.