Indonesia estimates there are 479 sunken ships off its coast alone. Fujian Jiada has supplied five of the eight salvage barges found to be active in the Java Sea in recent years. The vessels have sailed under the Chinese flag and also under those of Cambodia and Mongolia. One of them is the Hai Wei Gong 889, a crane ship which has sailed with a different name and under Chinese and Cambodian flags.
A team from the Lamongan administration has excavated a grave, reported to be the burial site of three Dutch navy personnel killed in a World War II battle in the Java Sea, in Brondong subdistrict last week.
via Deutche Welle, 05 February 2018: Tourist steals bricks from Ayutthaya, suffers an ‘unpeaceful’ life, returns them by mail.
An envelope containing three bricks believed to be centuries old and a note in Thai was sent to the Tourism Authority of Thailand last week, said Panupong Paengkul, a tourism official in the ancient city of Ayutthaya where the bricks were reportedly stolen from. “The note indicated that the bricks should be returned to any temple in Ayutthaya because the sender had not lived a peaceful life since, but it didn’t elaborate on what had really happened,” Panupong said. “The note was written in Thai. I suspect it was translated by Google,” he added, declining to reveal the name and nationality of the sender.
More than 48 shipwrecks have been illicitly salvaged – and the figure may be much higher. Museums can play a key role in the protection of these wrecks, alongside strategic recovery and legislative steps.
via The Guardian, 03 November 2017: 40 shipwrecks, mostly war graves, in Southeast Asian waters have been found to be illegally scavenged at unprecedented rates.
Dozens of warships believed to contain the remains of thousands of British, American, Australian, Dutch and Japanese servicemen from the second world war have been illegally ripped apart by salvage divers, the Guardian can reveal.
An analysis of ships discovered by wreck divers and naval historians has found that up to 40 second world war-era vessels have already been partially or completely destroyed. Their hulls might have contained the corpses of 4,500 crew.
Governments fear other unmarked graves are at risk of being desecrated. Hundreds more ships – mostly Japanese vessels that could contain the war graves of tens of thousands of crew killed during the war – remain on the seabed.
via Apollo Magazine, 26 August 2017: A short biography of André Malraux, a Frenchman who was convicted of looting antiquities from Cambodia – from Banteay Srei! – and eventually became the French Minister of Culture! For more of his dastardly exploits in Cambodia, you should also check out this lecture by Dr Lia Genovese which was delivered at the Siam Society earlier this year.
In 1923 André Malraux (1901–76) was a young dandy with few achievements to his name, but he was already circulating in Parisian high society on the strength of his personality. To his new wife Clara Goldschmidt, he suggested an adventure in the Far East, which would allow them ‘to live to our standards, at least for a few years’. And so the young couple set off for what was then Indochina, travelling along the Mekong Delta to Cambodia, and the 10th-century Hindu temple Banteay Srei in Angkor, where Malraux and his old school friend Louis Chevasson walked in as curious tourists and walked out with Khmer-era sculptures under their arms. They pried them loose from the temples using chisels and picks with a plan to sell the stolen goods on the art markets in London or New York. But it was foiled before they could return to Europe. The French colonial police promptly arrested the pair and put them on trial in Phnom Penh. Malraux received a three-year prison sentence and Chevasson 18 months.