Australian fined for artifact theft

By far, this got the most hits in terms of news, probably because someone from the first world was actually convicted. In short, an Australian holidaying in Cambodia was arrested and eventually fined for possessing and buying three stones taken from the Angkor Wat and Bayon temples.

8 – 11 October 2006 (Various news sources, see below) – By far, this got the most hits in terms of news, probably because someone from the first world was actually convicted. In short, an Australian holidaying in Cambodia was arrested and eventually fined for possessing and buying three stones taken from the Angkor Wat and Bayon temples. The stones weighed a total of 30 kg. Eventually he was found guilty of possession, but convinced the court that he was not a trafficker of antiqities but a tourist who didn’t know better and was slapped with a nominal fine. The moral of the story? Don’t buy stones or pieces of buildings from locals. Not only are they illegal, they also help fuel an illicit trade. Next time, get a t-shirt like everbody else.

Here are the news reports as they appeared in chronological order (ok, roughly so).

8 October:
Daily News and Analysis – Cambodia arrests Aussie tourists for artifact theft

9 October:
News.com.au (Daily Telegraph, Perth Now, The Australian) – Aussie faces jail over Angkor Wat stones
News.com.au (Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, Courier Mail, The Age, Perth Now, The Australian) – Australian to be fined over artefacts
ABC Online – Australian faces fine over artefacts possession in Cambodia

10 October:
Raw Story – Australian to face Cambodian court over alleged artifact theft
Bangkok Post – Cambodia fines antiques smuggler

11 October:
Sydney Morning Herald – Australian fined for ‘souvenirs’
The Raw Story – Cambodian court fines Australian over purchase of artifacts
News.com.au (Courier Mail, Herald Sun, The Australian, Daily Telegraph) – Aussie tourist fined for buying artefacts
IHT – Cambodian court fines Australian tourist for illegal possession of Angkor-era artifact


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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