Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Statues seized at border

Statues seized at border

Three Buddhist statues sit next to the car of an officer from Cambodia’s military police who has been detained by Thai authorities for smuggling the statues across the border
Three Buddhist statues sit next to the car of an officer from Cambodia’s military police who has been detained by Thai authorities for smuggling the statues across the border over the weekend. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Statues seized at border

An intelligence officer from Cambodia’s military police was detained by authorities in Thailand on Saturday evening on suspicion of involvement in looting antiquities, after allegedly crossing the border with three Cambodian Buddhist statues.

Soeun Oeun, 38, who is stationed in Battambang province, had reportedly crossed the border in the Thma Puok district of Banteay Meanchey province when he was stopped and searched by Thai soldiers.

According to Banteay Meanchey military police deputy commander Lieutenant Colonel Men Phirum, the Thai soldiers found the three statues in the back of the car Oeun was driving.

“Thai soldiers kept hold of the three statues but have handed over the suspect and his car to Cambodian authorities,” Phirum said yesterday.

Thma Puok district police chief Major Bun Sophath yesterday said that Oeun is currently being questioned at a police facility near the Cambodia-Thailand border. Sophath said negotiations were also underway with Thai authorities to arrange the return of the artifacts.

Looting of artefacts is an ongoing problem for Cambodia, with corrupt officials often linked to the criminal activity.

The United States is currently negotiating the return of recently seized antiquities worth an estimated $3 million, while in December 2013, Sotheby’s was forced to agree to hand back a stolen statue due for auction that was valued at $2 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on