Police Arrest Artifact Looters and Seize Around 1,000 Relics


Police, in collaboration with the Fine Arts Department, have arrested three suspects involved in looting artifacts from multiple archaeological sites. Approximately 1,000 pieces – some over a millennium old – were seized in a coordinated operation.

The investigation exposed a two-tiered gang specializing in this illegal trade—one group responsible for excavating and another for selling the items. The relics, which include bronze sculptures, tattoo kits, silver coins, cowrie shells and jewelry, were sold through Facebook posts.

Undercover police had previously purchased items from the suspects and submitted them to the Fine Arts Department for verification. Once confirmed as historical artifacts, arrest warrants were issued, leading to raids at nine locations across Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phayao and Sukhothai.

The suspects have been charged with the illegal possession and sale of historical artifacts, and police are continuing their investigation to identify additional perpetrators.

Fine Arts Department Director-General Phanombut Chantharachot is urging the public to report any suspected historical artifacts to the Ministry of Culture or the Fine Arts Department. Discoverers will be compensated with one-third of the artifact’s value after verification.

The department will also partner with police to raise awareness about the importance of preserving Thailand’s cultural heritage and the laws that protect it.

The preceding is a press release from the Thai Government PR Department.

Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.