US Returns 27 Stolen Artifacts to Cambodia

UMMATIMES - The United States (US) repatriated 27 stolen antiques to Cambodia, Thursday (10/6) local time. The repatriation comes after several years of the US government working with New York investigators to recover smuggled artifacts.

The return of the 27 artifacts is worth 3.8 million US dollars. Antiques include several Hindu and Angkor Buddha statues such as a bronze Buddha meditating on a Naga, a Shiva statue, and a sandstone statue of Prajnaparamita Buddha.

"The return of these 27 wondrous relics to the Cambodian people restores an important connection between the country's classic Angkor era and its modern customs and beliefs that have, for too long, been plagued by the greed of stolen antiquities," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr said in a statement.

Cambodia's Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Phoeurng Sackona, said the antiques were the "lost soul" of his country's ancestors. Cambodian antiques were among nearly 400 returned to 10 countries following an investigation by the Manhattan Antiquities Trade Unit and Homeland Security Investigation.

US authorities last week returned to Thailand two stone carvings weighing 680 kilograms stolen decades ago. The item has been on display at the San Francisco museum.