Customs foil attempt to steal ancient artefacts | Daily News

Customs foil attempt to steal ancient artefacts

Seize 40 foot container

 An attempt to smuggle ancient artefacts, worth millions of rupees out of the country, was foiled yesterday with customs sleuths seizing a 40-foot container filled with such items, ready to be shipped overseas.

“A large number of artefacts, including ancient coins, ornaments, sculptures, ebony furniture and many other antiques with historicalvalue was detected within the container by officers from the Customs Biodiversity Unit” Customs spokesman Lesley Gamini said.

According to Gamini, a Colombo based businessman who is currently under arrest is behind the attempt. He is said to have produced a false declaration to the Customs saying the container consisted of personal effects to the value of Rs.590,000. Some of the aretefacts seized from the container are believed to be from the Polonnaruwa era (AC 1065- 1120) and beyond. The consignment is said to consist a large number of ancient coins as well.

Gamini said his department had called officials from the Department’s of Archeology and Forest Conservation to assist in the investigation. According to the Customs Spokesman, the detection is one of the largest of its kind. The value of the siezed items have not been determined as yet and a comprehensive combined investigation is ongoing with the involvement of the above government arms.


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