Expect more donuts on Everest: China has just built a 19,000-square-foot police station manned by 20 full-time cops at the base camp for the highest peak on Earth. With record numbers of visitors to the Himalayan peak (40,000 last year--a new record), China hopes to eliminate crimes affecting tourists, climbers, and locals.
What type of crimes? Well, there's plenty of only-on-Everest criminality, like unethical guide services and jerks selling defective oxygen bottles. But China also hopes to curb Everest's Vegas-like attractions--namely, prostitution and gambling, especially on the Tibetan side.
Some of the police's rounds are likely politically motivated. Cops are expected to conduct patrols into the mountains in an attempt to catch Tibetans fleeing over the border into Nepal. The passes near Everest are frequently used by Tibetans hoping to escape China for friendlier climes.
Everest base camp parties are the stuff of legend, but it sounds like prospective revelers will now have more to worry about more than just lugging a keg up the mountain. A warning to future Everest climbers: If you hear someone shout "Everest 5-0!", drop your cup and run back to your tent.
-- Ted Alvarez