Phub Dem | Paro
Paro dzongkhag court convicted a 44-year-old man from Trashiyangtse to three years in prison for stealing iron chain links from the bridge over Pachhu near Tacho Lhakhang in Paro.
Guru Tshering will have to spend two years, ten months and five days in prison, as it is non-compoundable imprisonment. He stayed one month and five days in prison when he was arrested for the offence earlier this year.
The judgment passed on December 18 stated that he was found guilty of stealing 18 and a half chain links from the bridge on January 13 this year.
Guru Tshering was found guilty of violating section 24 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004.
It states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of damage to cultural and national heritage property or national monuments, if the defendant damages, destroys, or excavates a cultural or national heritage property and national monuments.
The offence is graded a fourth-degree felony with minimum sentencing of three years to a maximum of five years in prison.
The court ordered the defendant to surrender the confiscated chain links to the government.
Paro police recovered 16 and a half chain links from the convict, whereas the convict sold the remaining two chain links.
Meanwhile, the iron bridge was closed for the public for more than five years, but people stole the iron chains every year.
The bridge, built by Thangthong Gyalpo, revered as Drupthob Chang Zampa or the ‘Great Iron Bridge Builder’, is considered an important historical site. It was restored with iron chains from across the country.