Victory for Thailand in US

11 Jun 2014 9:12 AM | Anonymous
Victory for Thailand in US
Bowers Museum to return illicit artefacts after undercover investigation

Federal agents raid the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana in 2008. Photo: © Allen J Schnaben, Los Angeles Times

The Bowers Museum, in Santa Ana, California, will return to Thailand 542 ancient vases, bowls, axes and other artefacts that were allegedly looted from one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

The returns are the result of a non-prosecution agreement between the museum and the Los Angeles US Attorney’s office, stemming from federal raids in 2008. After a five-year undercover operation, federal agents seized hundreds of allegedly looted antiquities from the Bowers, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the Mingei International Museum in San Diego and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma). The authorities were investigating an alleged smuggling network that funnelled looted Thai, Cambodian and Burmese artefacts into museums, often through tax-deductible donations based on inflated appraisals, court records show.

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