Artifacts from Johor, Malaysia

Artifacts that have been dug up from archeological sites in the state of Johor, Malaysia are being sold on the black market.

Cultural officials from Malaysia state that the total trade in black market artifacts could be near $1 Million. In an example of the trade, a single gold coin that was dug up by looters can be sold for $618 to $3,092 (2,000 to 10,000 Malaysian Ringgit.)

Officials believe that looters have been digging up artifacts over the past 40 year with the buyers of the artifacts bring private antique collectors and shops located across Southeast Asia.

Most of the looters who find the treasures are local villagers and fisherman. By law, the finders are supposed to turn in the artifacts to the government.

(More statistics on art theft.)

Source:  Desiree Tresa Gasper and Zazali Musa, “Ancient treasures for sale on modern eBay,” The Star, December 12, 2013.