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Nepal’s Stolen Gods – by Steve Chao –

The arid and desolate mountain ranges of Upper Mustang in Nepal are extremely remote.

The only way into this high-altitude Himalayan region is on a rough track suitable for only the hardiest of vehicles.

But the inhospitable terrain hasn’t stopped art thieves from plundering the region’s treasures.

On the global art market, Himalayan statues of deities fetch millions of dollars. But to the Nepalese, they are living gods who are being stolen from their communities.

Since the 1980s, authorities estimate thieves have plundered tens of thousands of Nepalese antiquities.

While some are legally purchased, many, they say, are stolen and sold into the $8bn-a-year illegal black art market.

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