US returns 30 antiquities stolen in late 20th century to Cambodia

The US shipped 30 stolen artifacts to Cambodia on Monday, after a more than five-year investigation into an “organized looting network” that reportedly sold the works to international buyers. returned.

Ricky J. Patel, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Investigative Corps, said the artifacts were stolen from Cambodian temples and palaces and smuggled across the border.

“These artifacts belong to the people of Cambodia and we are proud to be a part of their recovery and repatriation,” Patel said. statement.

Among the antiquities returned to Cambodia are a 10th-century peacock sculpture of the Hindu god Skanda and a 10th-century sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha, both stolen from the ancient Khmer capital of Kho Khe. rice field.

according to U.S. Department of Justice, Antiquities were looted from Koh Khe and other sites in the late 20th century during the war in Cambodia and sold on the international art market through organized looting networks.

“A local team of looters first removed the statue from its original location. The statue was then taken to the Cambodian-Thai border and transferred to a broker, who is a Khmer handicraft dealer in Thailand. We will forward them to,” the agency said.

“These dealers either hold the works or sell the artifacts to local or international clients who sell them on the international art market,” the department added.

Bangkok-based antiques dealer Douglas Ratchford has been accused of selling looted artifacts on the Western art market to two private collectors and an American museum.

Latchford was indicted in 2019 on conspiracy to wire fraud and other charges related to the sale of art, but the charges were ultimately dismissed after his death. He passed away in 2020 at the age of 89.

United States Repatriate over 15,000 artifacts According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, remittances have been made to more than 40 countries and institutions since 2007.

In 2021 alone, US authorities returned 27 antiquities worth approximately $3.8 million to Cambodia.

Aldogra Fredry


Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.