Statue-stealing syndicate discovered

Police in Central Java have caught three men in connection to the theft of statues from the Plaosan Buddhist temples, and discover more statues at one of the arrested men’s home.

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Police uncover ancient statue theft syndicate
Jakarta Post, 04 Jan 2010

Central Java Police has uncovered a syndicate that has stolen two ancient statues from Plaosan Buddhist temples in Klaten near Yogyakarta and arrested three men responsible for the theft.

The suspects, identified as Sumarno, Sumanto and Setiartoro, will be charged under the 1992 Cultural Heritage Conservation Law, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo said Monday the police had found 32 statues at Sumanto’s home, some of which were ancient, including the heads of the Bodhisatwa and Dhyani Buddha statues that date back to the 9th century ruled by the Syailendra dynasty.

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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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