Looted artefacts return to Cambodia

Seven artefacts, most of them heads of statues, find their way back to Cambodia after they are confiscated in Thailand. I think these were the artefacts that were to be returned earlier when ASEAN was meeting at Hua Hin, but that meeting was hijacked by protesters.

7 ancient treasures returned to Cambodia
AP, 12 June 2009

Thailand returned seven treasures from Cambodia’s Golden Age to its neighbor Friday as the countries pledged to prevent further smuggling of antiquities.

The statues from the 12th century Angkorian era, including six heads of the Hindu god Shiva, were handed to Cambodian officials during an official one-day visit by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Thai authorities seized them from smugglers in 1999.

Widespread looting of Cambodia’s ancient temples has occurred in recent decades, with many items smuggled into Thailand for sale on the international antiques markets or to private collectors.


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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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