Aussie gets rough dose of Nepal hospitality

March 2nd, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, March 2 (IANS) Once famed as a haven for Western tourists, Nepal gave a harsh dose of its hospitality to an Australian, who was roughed up over a drinks brawl and “fined” NRS 50,000 (nearly $800). The attack on the young Australian tourist, identified only as “Don” by the local media, comes within two months of an assault on a Swiss trekker after he refused to pay the Maoists the “donation” they had demanded.

The bespectacled, longhaired traveller showed the bruises he had sustained on his head, left leg and chest after a dispute with locals in north Nepal Wednesday over the price of liquor at a restaurant, the Himalayan Times said.

The Australian was reportedly part of a group that also included tourists from New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands.

They had gone on motorcycles to the hot spring in remote Myagdi district, which generally does not see too many tourists.

Don reportedly had a spat with the owner of the unnamed restaurant over the price of the liquor he had been served. Following the altercation, groups of locals reportedly pounced on him and gave him a thrashing.

They then reportedly made him pay a “fine” of NRS 50,000.

There have been growing tales of tourists being fleeced by guides and cabbies.

An American tourist, who preferred to be anonymous, said he was asked to pay $100 by a cabbie to be taken to the airport from the Thamel area, a ride that would cost about $10.

The Australian embassy being closed Sunday, there was no immediate official comment on the incident.

In December, there was an international furore after Maoists roughed up a Swiss trekker, Steve Jeannereet, for refusing to pay them money.

Despite the former rebels having signed a peace pact and being part of the multi-party government, their district units are still said to be levying “people’s tax” on trekkers and mountaineers and even issuing receipts.

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