US returns to Cambodia dozens of antiquities looted from historic sites

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Some of the artifacts, which range from the bronze age to the 12th century, were stolen from ancient Khmer capital Koh Ker.

The United States will return to Cambodia 30 looted antiquities, including bronze and stone statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities carved more than 1,000 years ago, US officials have said.

The south-east Asian country’s archaeological sites – including Koh Ker, the capital of the ancient Khmer empire – suffered widespread looting in civil conflicts between the 1960s and 1990s.

Cambodia’s government has since sought to repatriate stolen antiquities sold on the international market.

Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said the items being returned were sold to western buyers by Douglas Latchford, a Bangkok dealer who created fake documents to conceal that the items had been looted and smuggled.

Williams said the antiquities, including a 10th-century sandstone statue depicting the Hindu god of war Skanda riding on a peacock and a sculpture of Ganesha, were voluntarily relinquished by US museums and private collectors after his office filed civil forfeiture claims. Both sculptures were looted from Koh Ker, the US attorney’s office southern district of New York said.

Agencies

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