Police locate centuries-old carved elephant tusks stolen from Karen village (Myanmar)


Somjit Rungjamrasrassamee, The Nation

Date Published
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A pair of centuries-old carved elephant ivory tusks stolen from a Karen village in Tak’s Umphang district has been found in Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) territory in Myanmar.

The 346th Border Patrol Police Company officers were waiting at Ban Mokerthai Moo 1 in Pop Phra district, as of press time last night, for DKBA soldiers to bring them the tusks and the suspected thief.

A source with the DKBA said the tusks had been brought to a temple on top of a mountain 80 kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar border so it would take time to return them.

The elaborately carved artefacts, said to be 200 years old and considered sacred objects, vanished from a pavilion at Letongkhu village in Tambon Mae Chan on Friday.

Village leaders told police that they suspected a former village headman, Baisu Khiridujjinda, who had reportedly fled to Myanmar with the tusks, of the theft, as he planned to perform a ritual at the mountain temple in Myawaddy province in Kayin (Karen) state, opposite Pop Phra district.

Village leaders said Baisu had arrived at the village and asked to sleep in the pavilion area the night before the tusks were found missing.

The pavilion enshrines two pairs of centuries-old carved ivory tusks, including the stolen items.