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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Safety and Security

Safety and Security - Terrorism 
There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks can be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There continue to be isolated incidents of bomb attacks (small improvised explosive devices), shootings and political violence across Nepal, including in Kathmandu. These incidents have resulted in the death and injury of Nepalese civilians. Tourists have only very occasionally been injured. These actions are carried out by a variety of political and criminal groups, especially in the Terai (southern plains). You should exercise caution in public places and take local advice.

Recent significant incidents include:
  • From 25 to 28 March 2011 four explosive devices were detonated on public buses operating in the Terai region. One person died and 44 people were injured.
  • On 8 June 2010 a bomb exploded in a car in the Maharajgunj area of Kathmandu. 4 people were injured.  
Safety and Security - Crime
Most visitors to Nepal experience a trouble-free stay.  But crimes such as assault and theft against foreigners in Kathmandu and throughout the country continue to increase.
Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common in Kathmandu, particularly in tourist areas. Airports, buses and hotel rooms are also targeted by criminals. The areas of Thamel, Sanepa and Kupondol in Kathmandu have seen a sharp rise in petty theft and burglary against foreigners in recent months. Incidents of bag-snatching by motor-bikers are on the rise, particularly in relatively quieter areas of Kathmandu Valley. There are increasing reports of foreigners being injured in the course of such incidents. Assaults and robberies often occur in the evening in areas that are poorly lit; however, attacks against foreigners have occurred in broad daylight.
British nationals should exercise caution when walking around Kathmandu at night, especially in areas experiencing power cuts. Avoid walking on your own; avoid carrying large sums of cash and keep valuables safe and out of sight. Elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley, you should avoid walking alone in isolated areas.
Visitors should consider exchanging money only at banks and hotels. Valuables should be stored in hotel safety deposit boxes and should never be left unattended in hotel rooms.
Bars and restaurants are now required to close at midnight as part of a Government crackdown on illegal activities. This means that after this time the streets around the city are poorly lit and relatively few people are about. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours are known to have been detained by the police.
You should exercise caution when entering ‘dance bars’ as some foreigners have been swindled or harassed in some of these establishments. As elsewhere, you should exercise judgement when accepting drinks from strangers, and should not leave your drinks unattended.
Victims of crime should call the Tourist Police in Kathmandu on 01 4700750 or the Tourist Police headquarters on 01 4247041.

There have been reports of trekkers being robbed where violence or the direct threat of violence has been used. Isolated incidences of rape have also been reported on trekking routes, and female travellers in particular should stay vigilant.

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