Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Asian "art collector" apprehended

The Phnom Penh Post recently reported that a 34-year-old man from Banteay Meanchey suspected of illegally hunting for ancient artefacts at Angkor Wat was arrested and will appear in court at Siem Reap. Chea Sophart, a deputy director of the Heritage Police, said man identified only as Ryn was arrested “while using an electric-powered machine to collect artefacts about 400 metres northeast of Takeo temple”. This wasn't the first case of thievery at the temple. Ryn is quoted as saying that on 10 previous occasions he had collected statues and other artefacts from the Banteay Chhmar temple compound in Banteay Meanchey province, which he then sold to Thai clients. An investigation into a suspected gang of artefact thieves is now under way. Ryn could face a prison term of between one and three years if convicted. The dealers and collectors who no-questions-asking buy the sawn off bits of SE Asian monuments as classy (sic) exotic home decoration are probably risking no punishment whatsoever in their own countries.
Photos: Legitimate, looted or fake? Some of the many sculptural fragments on sale today - funny how its most often the heads. Do bodhisattvas have no buttocks?

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