10th century artifacts stolen, recovered in Cambodia

ANGKOR, Cambodia, Sept. 26 (UPI) — Two 10th century sandstone sculptures were confiscated after a chase by forestry officials in Sien Reap province, Cambodia, law enforcement said.

Forestry administration officers pursued a heavily laden vehicle for about six miles, believing it to contain stolen illegal wood, they said. The vehicle contained two heavy, sandstone sculptures, each about three feet tall, dating to the 10th century and likely stolen from a local temple, officials of the government Apsara Authority, which oversees nearby Angkor Archeological Park of ancient houses of worship, said.
The two people inside the vehicle fled.

“The sculptures may have been taken from the Koh Ker temple, in Preah Vihear province, as there are many small temples there,” Chau Sun Kera, spokeswoman for the Apsara Authority said. The agency added experts would study the artifacts in detail after police finished their work.

“We have not identified the suspects yet. We’re doing research. We have also not yet identified the place where the suspects took these ancient artifacts from and where they were going to send them to,” Meoun Saravy, district police chief, said.

Sun Kerya said no cases of artifact smuggling, a common occurrence in the 1990s, have been reported in the Angkor park in five years.

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