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"Global hunt for stolen Thai art - Prakhon Chai bronzes" in The Denver Post
athikhom saengchai
Dec 1, 2022
Location: Buriram, Thailand
In the mid-1960s, hundreds of statues and relics known as "Prakhon Chai hoard" were looted from Prasat Hin Khao Plai Bat II, a Khmer temple dated at 895 in Buri Ram in northeastern Thailand. Little is known how the artefacts made their way from impoverished villages to galleries in the Denver Art Museum and other foreign collections.

Recently, it was found out that all artifacts were dug up by villagers and sold to Douglas Latchford, a disgraced art dealer and smuggler, who sold them to collectors and museums outside Thailand, with help from his close friend, Emma C. Bunker, an art scholar who played an important role in laundering the plundered antiquities. Now American investigators and authorities are working with the Thai government on the repatriation of the stolen artifacts.

This story is Part 3 of a special three-part investigative report "Looted" by Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, who spent a year reporting about illicit antiquities smuggling in Cambodia and Thailand.

Read the three-part series "Looted"

Part 3: The global hunt for a secret cache of stolen Thai treasures runs through Denver

Athikhom Saengchai

Athikhom Saengchai is a documentary photographer and writer based in Bangkok, Thailand. His works focus on endangered culture and marginalized ethnic minorities.
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