Australian fined for artifact theft

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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: (Daily Telegraph, Perth Now, The Australian) – Aussie faces jail over Angkor Wat stones (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 (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

Foreigner sues Government to recover artefacts


14 June 2006 (The Star Online) – Treasure hunters are suing the Malaysian customs department for seized artefacts. Reportedly Chinese and Filipino artefacts originated from US, were in transit in Malaysia before being sent to Dubai and sold for export. (Huh?)

Foreigner sues Government to recover artefacts

The wife of an American treasure hunter has filed a suit against the Customs Department director-general and Government for the return of over RM154mil worth of artefacts seized at Port Klang in September.

It was reported that the 361 artefacts were about to be shipped to Dubai in containers when they were intercepted and seized at Northport by the authorities for investigation.

It was also reported that some of the items seized included ceramic bowls and plates, vases, chairs and tables, wooden shields, bells, gongs, spears, keris, swords, cannons and large drums believed to be from countries such as China and the Philippines.