Thailand cracks down on illicit artefact racket: Trio arrested with trove of history

Picture courtesy of Pattaya News.

A significant victory was recorded in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts in Thailand with the apprehension of three individuals suspected to be key figures in the racket. The police, in conjunction with the Fine Arts Department, successfully conducted an operation which led to the arrest of these suspects and the recovery of about 1,000 historical artefacts.

The course of the investigation revealed a dual-structured operation with one group assigned to the excavation of these invaluable items and another tasked with their sale. The artefacts, a collection of bronze sculptures, tattoo kits, silver coins, cowrie shells and pieces of jewellery, some of which date back over a thousand years, were sold to oblivious buyers via posts on Facebook.

The police, in a bid to confirm the authenticity of these items, had gone undercover to purchase some of the artefacts. These were subsequently presented to the Fine Arts Department for verification. Once it was confirmed that these were indeed historical artefacts, arrest warrants were promptly issued. This led to raids being conducted at nine locations across Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phayao and Sukhothai.

The three suspects now face charges of illegal possession and sale of historical artefacts. The police, however, are not resting on their laurels as the investigation is still ongoing to unearth other individuals involved in this unscrupulous trade.

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Picture courtesy of Pattaya News.

Phanombut Chantharachot, the Director-General of the Fine Arts Department, has called on the public to assist in the fight against this illicit trade. He urges anyone who comes across any suspected historical artefacts to report to the Ministry of Culture or the Fine Arts Department. He assures that such individuals will be rewarded with one-third of the artefact’s value after it has been verified.

Furthermore, the department will be working in partnership with the police to educate the public on the importance of preserving Thailand’s cultural heritage and the laws in place to ensure its protection. This is a vital move aimed at curbing the growing trend of illicit trade in historical artefacts and ensuring that Thailand’s rich history and culture are preserved for future generations.

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Top is a multifaceted news writer with a keen interest in real estate and travel. Top currently covers local Thai news at Thaiger. As a travel buff, Top blogs about his travels- around the world and Thailand- during his free time.

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