Loft antiques shop raided

PHUKET TOWN: The Loft, an antiques shop on Thalang Rd, was raided this morning by police officers and specialists from the Ministry of Culture. The raid came after allegations that the owners had no license to sell antiques, and that they had been selling antique Buddha images, which is illegal with or without a license. Official interest in the shop was sparked by a recent newspaper report that antiques from certain periods of Thai history, which are barred from export, had been offered for sale on the giant auction web site. Although there were apparently no allegations that the partners in The Loft have been selling Thai antiques via ebay, authorities decided that the shop merited closer scrutiny. Panya Poonsiri, chief technical inspector in the Ministry’s Phuket office, said that some of the items in the shop were reproductions, but that five Buddha images found in a glass cabinet were genuine antiques from the Ayudhaya period. K. Panya told the Gazette, “We can’t say much yet about the results of the raid. But we can say that the shop has no Ministry of Culture license to sell antiques. “As a result, we have decided to seize all properties in The Loft [while their provenance is checked].” Italian citizen Carlo Raineri, 37, one of the shop’s partners, said that 95% of the items in the shop belonged to friends in Chiang Mai. Business in the north of Thailand was not good, he said, so the friends had sent the items for him to sell on commission. After the raid, officers said the shop would be closed and sealed until all the items could be checked. Mr Ranieri was charged with selling antiques without a license.

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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