Illegal arms trade flourishing in popular Nepal tourist area

Thamel shopkeepers say criminal gangs are gaining more power in the district.

Kathmandu: The central Kathmandu tourist district of Thamel has become a centre for illegal trade in guns and small arms.

According to the BBC, Kathmandu`s police chief said the area was becoming increasingly violent because of its popularity with the city`s drug dealers and criminals.

With cheap restaurants, backpacker hostels and shops, Thamel has long been the tourist capital of Nepal.

Most tourists spend at least a day here before heading out into the country to go trekking or rafting.

But in recent years, the cafes selling banana pancakes and vegetarian food have been joined by strip bars and dance clubs, many of them employing underage girls who have been trafficked into the capital from the countryside.

Thamel shopkeepers say that criminal gangs are gaining more and more power in the district.

"They come here at night and fight and even fire their guns," said one shopkeeper who refused to give his name out of fear.


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