Perspectives on the Investigation, Prosecution and Prevention of Art Crime in Asia
in: Saskia Hufnagel and Duncan Chappell (eds) Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime: Australasian, European and North American Perspectives (Ashgate, 2014) 221-235
20 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2020 Last revised: 26 Sep 2021
Date Written: October 26, 2014
This chapter provides an overview of the primary problems relating to the investigation, prosecution and prevention of existing forms of art crime in Asia, where looting and trafficking of regional artefacts have developed extensively in contemporary times. The sophisticated methods of looters and middlemen, the highly efficient smuggling networks which support them, and the involvement and resources of international art dealers collectively make the fight against art crime very difficult. Factors contributing to such circumstances, which include the rising margins on the international art market, the opening of borders, and increased trade throughout the region, are also considered. Globalisation, the simplified circulation of goods, and the diversity of political and legal systems in Asia are other aspects which add to the challenges facing cross-border regulation of the art trade and the tracking of cultural artefacts. The chapter also examines several long-term measures and issues which are relevant to the prevention of art crime in Asia. Cooperation between neighbouring countries and assistance by market and transit countries are of particular importance in this context. Measures discussed at the domestic level include enhanced training of relevant government officials, the judiciary, and other persons involved in the enforcement of related laws, raising awareness among local populations, penalties against looters, illicit art dealers, corrupt officials, and string-pullers, and enhanced moral and economic rewards offered to those who assist in the protection of cultural relics.
Keywords: Art crime, art trafficking, looting, cultural artefacts, Asia, China, Cambodia, cultural heritage protection
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