30 Buddha Figures Stolen From Historic Temple

(2 January) More than 30 Buddha figures have been stolen from a historic temple in Ang Thong province.

The incident took place at Sunthraram Temple in Viset Chaicharn district. The Buddha figures were stored in a room on second floor of the temple′s office building. The door of the room has been pried open, and the suspects also stole a bronze statue of a famous monk which was placed just outside the room, police said.
Mr. Surapol Thongpetch, a committee member of the temple administration, said the Buddha storage room has been off limit to the public for a long time, and he only found out about the theft yesterday morning when a couple of temple-goers has asked the abbot for their permission to visit the storage room and admire the artifacts. 
The abbot, Phra Kru Suweerabhorn, said he almost fainted when he discovered that the Buddha figures had been stolen, since each of the Buddha statue is at least 200 years old. Some also dated back to the period of Ayutthaya kingdom, the abbot added.
He said one particular Buddha statue is a life-sized artwork made of teak wood, and has been adored as a prominent treasure of the temple. 
Police believe the suspects number no less than 3 people. Detectives are now interrogating staff of the temple, as there were evidences that the thieves had good knowledge of the temple′s layout and escape routes.
The police are also investigating antique shops in the area, lest the suspects attempt to sell their stolen artifacts. 
Suthraram Temple is an ancient temple which has been briefly occupied by the Burmese armies during their invasion of Ayutthaya kingdom, and there have been numerous incidents of theft of religious relics at the temple in the past, our correspondent said.



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