Tourist-mugging on rise in Pokhara

Pokhara, November 4:

Pokhara seems to be fast turning into Harlem of New York, going by the increasing incidents of tourists getting mugged in this sylvan lakeside resort.

The targets are especially those tourists visiting the Bishwa Shanti Stupa. According to police, 500 Euros were looted from an Italian tourist Fabiolan Bord who went to see the stupa across Fewa lake on Friday. Two British tourists were mugged by looters at the same place on Thursday. Victims Andrew James and Jannifer James said the looters robbed them of $1600, five credit cards and passports.

A tourism entrepreneur Bishnu Neupane said that he along with the victims went to the police station to lodge a complaint about the mugging and when he told the police that tourists visiting the stupa were not safe the policemen misbehaved with him.

Earlier, in September, muggers divested a stupa-bound Swiss woman of Rs 6000, a camera and a Visa card, according to Ganga Bahadur Nepali of Hotel Nirvana Lakeside, Pokhara. He added that similar incidents occurred with five tourists of different countries in October as well. The victims said that the muggers were wielding khukuris.

Though police chief of Kaski, superintendent of police Ravi Raj Shrestha, had a few weeks ago claimed that mugging cases of tourists en route to Bishwa Shanti Stupa were being investigated, there has been no arrest as yet.

However, the chief of the ward police office, Baidam, Dev Bahadur Wasti, has claimed that police went to the incident site today for investigation. He said that a few suspicious persons were arrested from the spot. On the other hand, tourism entrepreneurs who have said they will launch a drive against muggers are yet to make any move.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Buddhi Raj Bajracharya, who visited the stupa few days ago, regional administrator of western region, Chattra Bikram Shah and zonal administrator of Gandaki Kumar Bahadur Karki were also told about the increasing incidents of mugging.