via ABC, 28 March 2021: A closer look at the pieces in Australia’s museums from South and Southeast Asia that have questionable provenance, with a mention of the Douglas Latchford case and recent repatriations may spark a wave of claims starting from Thailand and Cambodia.
Mr Felch said an awakening was beginning in the Asia-Pacific region, in part inspired by Cambodia’s success in getting some objects back.
“Right now, Thailand is going through a similar effort seeking to understand how these objects left the country and where they are today and claim those that they can document were stolen,” he said.
“But I would not be surprised if Vietnam and other countries began to make a similar effort.”
Mr Felch said globally there was a rising awareness and desire to address the imbalance of power between “collecting countries” and archaeologically-rich countries.
The next scandal for Australian galleries, he said, likely won’t stem from a dubious collector being exposed — it will come from countries like Thailand and Cambodia demanding their items be returned.
“The bottom line is that while museums have often focused their research efforts on the last scandal, in this case Latchford, what they should really be doing is something more systematic,” he said.