BANGKOK, June 30 (AFP): Three Thais have been detained following the discovery of hundreds of Buddhist artifacts, some more than 700 years old, hidden in a pond and bushes around their house, police said this afternoon. Sunthorn Sowapee and his son and daugther were detained Monday after police and Fine Arts Department officials found 341 antique pieces near his house in the old Thai capital of Ayutthya. “All the antiques were certified by our Fine Arts Department and all are genuine, some as old as the thirteenth century,” police Captain Kamon Puang-ngarm said. The figures include statues of the Lord Buddha and other pieces allegedly stolen from temples in Thailand or Cambodia. The suspects have been charged with possession of illegal antiques and face a maximum jail term of seven years or a fine of up to 700,000 baht (19,180 dollars). “The suspects said that all of the antiques were from their clients who brought them to the house for repair,” Kamon said, adding that the trio had denied the charges. Police in Ayutthya, 70 kilometers (47 miles) north of Bangkok, have been put on special alert after a recent spate of robberies at the ancient temples for which the city is famous.
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