2 / 12 A monk reveals intricately crafted gods hidden inside a copper stupa in Namygal Monastery in Mustang, Nepal. These rare idols are highly sought after by thieves, and the monastery has been forced to lock them away for safekeeping. [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]

Al Jazeera’s recent investigation focuses on the stolen antiques from Nepal. The 101 EAST episode “NEPAL : The Great Plunder” sees Steve Chao take us on a journey right up to Upper Mustang as he traces the origins of the religious gods that have made their way to Kathmandu through illegal chains and as far as USA. From private collectors to well known museums across the world, ancient statues from Nepal are worth thousands of dollars. Approximately, 80% of Nepal’s religious artefacts have been stolen and sold into the $8 billion a year illegal black market in art. Huge figures there!

This 101 EAST episode is incredible in bringing forward this story and raises a question in how such a trade can continue, passing through so many different networks for so long. We’ve read and may know of individuals who have become wealthy through such trade in the past or right now but all this needs to stop. I hope this video is able to draw more attention and push the authorities to step up their efforts in curbing this illegal activity.

NEPAL: THE GREAT PLUNDER

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