Thursday, August 19, 2010

ICE Returns Khmer Artifacts, But Questions Remain

ICE has issued a press release about the repatriation of Khmer artifacts to Cambodia. See

The artifacts were seized as part of a larger investigation into the smuggling of South Asian Art.

Although the seizures were made with great fanfare, the actual legal proceedings seem limited and instead the investigation has been marred by the death of one of the its targets in police custody. As a result, her family received a large sum to settle a federal tort claims action.

I also find the government's allegations related to the theft of Ban Chiang pottery from Thailand to be questionable given the continuing availability of such pottery openly for sale within Thailand itself. See

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