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Traders with hundreds of illicit artifacts are apprehended

Traders with hundreds of illicit artifacts are apprehended

During police raids in four northern provinces, three individuals were detained for illegally excavating and selling antiquities online, and nearly 1,000 artifacts were seized.

Police held Thotsaphorn Rermcham, 26, his brother Thotsaphon Rermcham, 19, and Sri-on Chanthana, 46, over the previous week as they searched nine locations in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Phayao, Sukhothai, and Lamphang.

The three people were wanted on suspicion of illegally possessing and selling artifacts, according to arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court, according to Central Investigation Bureau Director Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej on Monday.

In addition to freezing four bank accounts, police seized 11 metal scanners, 970 artifacts, and digging equipment.

Conservationists informed Crime Suppression Division police that a group was illegally excavating for artifacts and selling them on Facebook. This led to the arrests. CSD investigators and representatives of the Fine Arts Department subsequently verified the reports.

CSD police pretended to be customers who were interested in buying two historic monuments when they contacted a Facebook group. They acquired the data and forwarded it to the department for validation.

“The results demonstrate that the objects are real antiquity. One is a cow figure with engravings that dates to over 1,600 years ago, and the other is an elephant figurine with a seal that originates from the 21st century [Buddhist Era, roughly 500 years ago], according to the head of the CIB. Arrests of further suspects were being made as a result of the inquiry.

In the provinces of Phayao, Sukhothai, Lampang, and Ratchaburi, the suspects allegedly organized a crew to excavate for artifacts at historic sites or scuba dive for them in significant rivers, according to Pol Col. Ekkasit Panseetha, superintendent of Crime Suppression Division sub-division 4. They videotaped their actions while diving and used the footage to produce web entertainment to draw viewers.

According to Pol Col Ekkasit, the items would either be sold to stores in Chiang Mai that specialize in antiques or their specifications would be publicized on Facebook for sale.

Both Mr. Thotsaphorn and Mr. Thotsaphon claimed they had no idea what they were doing was illegal. They said that they paid for their daily costs using the proceeds from the selling of the artifacts. Pol Col Ekkasit stated Mr. Sri-on denied all of the accusations.

According to the investigators, the suspects made roughly 200,000 Baht every month. More than 10 million baht had been transferred through their bank accounts during the previous three years.

All were being held by the police pending legal proceedings.

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