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Climber
15th November 2005, 11:10 AM
It sounds like a lot of money. Most people on this board mention Rs 1000 (about 8 pounds) - not the 50 pounds mentioned in this article.

HIGHWAY ROBBERY
Scots Cops mugged in Himalayas
By Robert Fairburn

A GROUP of Scots policemen have been robbed by Maoist rebels while climbing in the Himalayas.

The Lothian and Borders officers were on a trip to 21,830ft Mera Peak in Nepal when they were ordered to stump up more than 500.

The 11-strong party had to pay the equivalent of 50 a head in US dollars.

One of the group, Sgt Duncan Taylor, based in Hawick, Roxburghshire, said: "They came out of nowhere and mingled with the locals, so it was hard to tell exactly how many there were of them.

"They made their demands through our Sherpa guide, who translated They already had a receipt writtenout. I asked the Sherpa what would happen if we refused to pay but he just shook his head saying, 'No, no.' "To be honest, we kind of expected to be robbed, as it is mentioned in the guide books. We had budgeted for it."

Now safely back home, he said the trip had been an incredible experience.

hoot72
15th November 2005, 11:42 AM
Yes. It does happen. But the real problem is this:

How the hell do you know if its a geuine maoist demand or some petty thieves making threats..

50pounds per head is actually excessive. They havent, to my knowledge asked for half that amount so its worrying.

It happens alot in the Western regions of the annapurna's especially as this is a popular trekking area and almost 50% of the people I met in Pokhara ended up running into these moaists who asked for donations but were issued reciepts.

Its something you need to prepare for.

Have not however heard of incidents to tourists so its been good so far unless my information is bad.

Bradley

Oli
16th November 2005, 01:33 AM
the real problem is this:

How the hell do you know if its a geuine maoist demand or some petty thieves making threats..


The real problem is mostly they are the same.

I was prepared to entertain the notion that these "donations" are a reasonable "tax" for the Maoists compared with the permit fees required by the official govt. But realising that they extort money from their Nepali breatheren using much harsher tactics, and that they use the money to blow up bridges (etc) rather than building them like ACAP. I have very little sympathy for them.

It can be difficult to recognise the "real Maoists". They might or might not be openly armed, and similarly the army sometimes patrol in civis. Probably the best way to tell the genuine maoists is if they offer a receipt to avoid having to be "taxed" again.

And maybe the rate in Annapurna & Jiri to Lukla is around 1000NRs or 100Nrs/day, it as much as they feel they can get away with demanding, a wealthy looking climbing expedition off the regular trekkers trails would be expected to pay more. I had to pay 5000NRs on the Kanchenjunga trail this time last year. I have heard of trekkers asking for a "student discount" and being let off with half price :)

I'm wondering if anyone has every managed to claim this money back on their travel insurance. Probably not....

Oli
16th November 2005, 01:48 AM
ps: whilst in Pokhara I met this chap (Adam Katz) who has an interesting anecdote about meeting the maoists

http://www.geekeasy.com/travel/journal/12_27_tiger_maoist.shtml

yakshaver
16th November 2005, 02:18 AM
I have had accounts that "expeditions" are "taxed" more than small groups or single trekkers. If something looks like an expensive expedition type venture, the Maoists may figre that since they had the money to climb Mera, they should be taxed accordingly. It goes with the "flexible tax system" described in the Maoist letter to the US Embassy that Oli shared.

I have a friend who did the AC last year in October. He did have his Australian student card with him, showed it to the mao mao "tax man" and was charged 500 rupees. He's got the receipt.
I have also heard that at Bahundada the maoists charge 100 (one hundred rupees) per declared day of trekking. Many tourists (on advice from their guides) declare they only go to Manang for a few days and will fly out of Hongde. The revenue gathering people do not seem to be bothered by this. I intend to verify this myself as I will be there in a few weeks time.
The other collection point is Ghorepani (Poon Hill).
I will post updates on this subject from Nepal.
Watch this space. in mid December.

Oli
16th November 2005, 03:04 AM
I will post updates on this subject from Nepal.

TIA Yakshaver


Watch this space. in mid December.

Just a thought, though - this thread might be of more long term use if it were to be moved to the "Maoists" forum, maybe?

hoot72
16th November 2005, 10:49 AM
Thanks for the updates guys (Oli and Yakshave)....as usual..great information and great suggestions and advice

Bradley

yakshaver
16th November 2005, 11:07 AM
Sorry Bradley, and everyone else...

I made a mistake which I now corrected in the original post: it should have read 100 (one hundred) rupees per day of AC trek collected at Bahundada, not 1000 (one thousand...). I checked again with my source after it became apparent to me that I may have made a mistake...

zx9
13th December 2005, 05:38 AM
Just got back from our EBC trek. Whilst we fly to Luka, we meet many who had walked to Luka and encounted the maoists on the way, each said they had to pay 5000 each, all had tried bargin unsuccessfully. I had figured that 5000 is now the going rate.

yakshaver
11th January 2006, 08:36 AM
Saddly I have to report that I encountered no Maoists on the Annapurna Circuit last month. We expected to meet and greet with them at Bahundada, but they were nowhere to be seen, having retired for winter - apparently. An army unit strolled around, with not a care in the world, which reinforced our belief that the Maobadis decided it got to cold for manning their posts around the region.
The unfortunate thing is that I did not get the receipt, with the hammer & sickle, that I was hoping for...