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Smuggling artifacts through loopholes PDF Print E-mail

The Cultural, Bio-Diversity and National Heritage unit of the Customs Department yesterday said that many of Sri Lanka’s artifacts were being smuggled out of the country by well-known individuals with the support of some people due to the lack of regulations in the Cultural Property Act.

The unit said that though some of the artifacts were detected at the airport, the culprits often get off free due to lack of effective regulations in the Cultural Property Act.

“Though there is a law against the selling of local antiques, there are no proper regulations set up by the relevant authorities to stop it,” said the unit’s Deputy Director Samantha Gunasekara. He said the Customs officials constantly caught foreigners taking Sri Lankan artifacts out of the country but were helpless before the law.

Mr. Gunasekara said that in one instance a foreign national who had been residing in the country for a long time was detected attempting to take valuable coins and statues out of the country.

“Though we went to courts there was nothing we could do as he had the backing of many local people,” he said.

“There should be a way for the relevant ministry to track down such valuable artifacts which are a part of our heritage, because there is nothing much we can do except try to prevent such artifacts being taken out of the country and even in this is we are often unsuccessful,” he said.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:50 )

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