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Deadline for relics extended

THE FINE ARTS Department yesterday extended the deadline from July 2 to August 12 for villagers in Phatthalung to bring in their ancient gold artefacts.

The items were dug up from an oil-palm plantation this year and the department had called for people's cooperation to return them to be studied and preserved as "national treasures".

Anek Sihamat, director-general of the department, said 22 pieces worth Bt1.8 million had been turned in to the department.

The Bangkok National Museum, where all the returned relics are being stored for the time being, will pay a reward at a third of a gold item's real value.

Seven locals reportedly surrendered the 22 items weighing up to 1,855.51 grams or 115.45 baht. They comprised 13 pieces, five nuggets and four ornaments.

The assessed value of the 22 gold items was Bt5.56 million, so one-third would amount to Bt1.85 million.

"With regard to locals who are still in possession of the gold items, which are considered to be national treasures, I have ordered Arnat Bamrungwong, director of Fine Arts Office 14, to extend the return deadline.

"Once passed, [we] will coordinate with local authorities to enforce regulations whereby [those in possession] will face seven years of jail time or a Bt700,000 fine or both," he said.


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