US writer sought for illegal possession of Nepalese artefacts

May 24th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of National Geographic
Kathmandu, May 24 (DPA) Nepalese police have issued an arrest warrant for a US adventure writer for alleged illegal possession of antique temple idols and body parts of endangered animals, a media report said Saturday. Police issued the warrant against Ian Baker after they raided his rented apartment in Kathmandu. They recovered dozens of ancient stolen idols and sculptures, wood carvings, and hides and body parts of tigers and leopards, the Rising Nepal newspaper said.

Reports said Baker was a writer who contributed to National Geographic and other magazines and had also written books on the Himalayas and Tibet.

“During the raid, we recovered 30 different hides of tigers, leopards along with dozens of idols which were missing from temples,” the newspaper quoted Kathmandu police chief Upendra Kant Aryal as saying. “This is the one of the largest hauls of ancient artefacts and animal parts in Nepal.”

The police raid followed a tip about Baker’s activities, but they said attempts to lure Baker back to Nepal were unsuccessful. Police said Baker was currently in Thailand and they would seek Interpol’s assistance to apprehend him. He had been renting two apartments in Kathmandu for the past 24 years, the newspaper said.

Under Nepalese law, it is illegal to keep animal parts of endangered species and ancient artefacts. If proven guilty, Baker could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees (about $735).

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