As Maoist extortion reaches unprecedented levels, a Kathmandu-based diplomat has for the first time offered police help in dealing with the problem. Addressing the ninth annual general meeting of the Nepal-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kathmandu on 3 December, the British ambassador to Nepal, Keith Bloomfield, said that the British Metropolitan Police had submitted a report to the Nepal government to help deal with extortion of businesses by the rebels. The extortion is systematic and regular, which is making life difficult for the business community, said Bloomfield, who also heads the Industrial Security Group that represents countries with major foreign investment projects in Nepal. The Metropolitan Police has already submitted a master plan to the Nepal government and advised the setting up of a special task force involving all security agencies to launch an anti-extortion pilot program in the capital.
The problem of extortion is expanding and increasing in amount, he said. Addressing the function, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat urged businessmen to say a collective no to extortionists. He said the government was ready to help the business community if they stood up against the rebels together as the people in Dailekh did.