Treasure hunter under investigation by Indonesian authorities

Indonesian authorities are investigating a treasure hunter for allegedly trying to smuggle Ming artefacts out of the country.

Treasure Hunter Unwelcome in Indonesia After Alleged Theft of Undersea Artifacts
Jakarta Globe, 30 April 2010

The National Police and immigration officials have slapped a travel ban on treasure hunter Michael Hatcher, as authorities investigate allegations that he stole undersea artifacts.

“We have imposed a travel ban, that is one of our anticipative measures,” National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi said on Friday.

He said police were still tracking the whereabouts of the 70- year-old treasure hunter, who was reportedly born in Britain but grew up in Australia.

He is being tracked down for trying to smuggle thousands of pieces of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) porcelain out of the country in two ships that were intercepted off West Java in September. Some 2,360 pieces of porcelain were seized on the ships.

“We are still investigating the case and no one has been charged yet,” Ito said.


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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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