Illegal items hoarded by American seized



KATHMANDU, May 23 – Metropolitan Police Crime Division, Hanumandhoka confiscated dozens of illegally possessed artifacts, idols, wood craft and huge materials of endangered wildlife from the rented apartments of US citizen and legendary writer Ian Baker, who is also a contributor to National Geographic and several other magazines.Ian Baker, who has been reportedly staying in the country for over 24 years, was found to illegally possess a huge collection of archeologically important materials, including skeletons, statues and skins of wildlife in his two rented apartments located at Naxal and Baluwatar in the capital.

Acting on a special tip-off, a police team raided a house of Rajesh Maharjan at Baluwatar where police recovered a huge cache of such materials.

Police said they arrested house owner Maharjan, who told them that Baker also possessed illegal materials in another rented house at Naxal.

Following the information from Maharjan, who is said to be an aide of Baker, police sealed the house. With the help of experts from Department of Archaeology and Kathmandu District Forest office, it was revealed that those materials were archeologically important, some even dated back to prehistoric times.

On Thursday, police also seized dozens of artifacts, statues, skeletons, skins of wildlife, among other things. Senior Superintendent of Police Upendra Kant Aryal, chief of Metropolitan Police Crime Division, said the recovered materials were one of the largest collections ever confiscated by the police in the country.

However, police said they were yet to ascertain the intention behind collecting those materials. During interrogation, Maharjan told that Baker had gone to Thailand after storing those materials in the house. Police said Baker has been absconding since police raided his two apartments.

The country’s law has banned people from possessing, buying and selling archeologically important materials. On the other hand, the CITES (Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna), to which Nepal is a signatory, also terms buying and selling wildlife body parts illegal.

Posted on: 2008-05-23 18:11:27 (Server Time)