Customs officers seize Myanmar Buddha images

TNA, March 23, 2005

MAE HONG SON, Thailand -- Customs officers in Thailand's northern border province of Mae Hong Son today seized 13 Myanmar Buddha images, as they were being smuggled across the border, destined for export to a third country.

The capture of the bronze Buddha images came after customs officials received a tip-off that smugglers were hiding the images in the border area around Baan Huay Phueng.

A survey by customs and local military officials soon revealed the images concealed in a fertilizer sack in a location around 10 metres into Thai territory.

Chief provincial customs officer Bancha Kaeowdaeng said that the images would be held in the Mae Hong Son customs office, and that the search would begin for the smugglers.

The images are said to have been stolen from a Myanmar town, and to have been destined for export to a third country.

The Mae Hong Son customs office will liaise with the Department of Fine Arts to have the images returned to Myanmar under an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreement.