Nepalese police said on Sunday [January 17, 2010] they have arrested a group of Tibetans for crossing the border into the Himalayan nation illegally.
"Eight Tibetan men and two women were arrested at Lamabagar village near the border on Saturday night," police officer Surya Narayan Shrestha told AFP from Dolakha district, 90 kilometres (56 miles) northeast of Kathmandu.
"They did not have any valid travel documents and they could not communicate with us," the police officer said, adding that all of them were handed over to the immigration department for further investigation.
Some 2,500 Tibetans used to make the dangerous trip from Chinese-controlled Tibet to Nepal every year on their way to India to meet their exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
But activists say the number has fallen sharply since China mobilised its military in Tibet in March 2008, and that the Nepalese government has responded to pressure from Beijing by adopting a harder line on the exiles.
Nepal is home to around 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled the region after a failed uprising.
Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal has upheld Beijing's "One China" policy that views Tibet as an integral part of China.
The government has repeatedly said it will not tolerate anti-China activity as it seeks to preserve friendly ties with its northern neighbour.
The Unrepresented Nations and People Organization (UNPO) is an international, nonviolent and democratic membership organisation. Its Members are indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognised States and occupied territories that have joined together to defend their political, social and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to promote their right to self-determination.