Treasure hunter says charges politically motivated

Michael Hatcher

From Jakarta Globe

A veteran British treasure hunter has broken his silence over allegations that he illegally removed Chinese Ming porcelain from a wreck off Blanakan, West Java.

The 70-year old, who was reportedly born in Britain but grew up in Australia, told The Times of London that the investigation was politically motivated.

“There’s no foundation to it,” he told The Times in Jakarta. “The people behind this are companies opposed to my companies. They have a crack at me all the time.

My job takes me to places where you take risks but one thing I don’t do is screw with the law here. I don’t want to go to an Indonesian jail.”

Hatcher’s salvage missions in Indonesia began in 1980 with the discovery of the wreck of the De Geldermalsen in East Bintan, Riau Islands, from which he recovered Chinese porcelain that was auctioned for $20 million.

In 1999, Hatcher raised 365,000 porcelain items from the wreck of the Chinese junk Tek Sing, which ran aground off southern Sumatra in 1822, constituting the biggest find of its type ever.

Since 2008 Hatcher has been seen in Blanakan with operator PT Comexindo Usaha Mandiri, which was only permitted to survey the area from 2009.


Michael Hatcher Indonesia Subang shipwreck Ming artifacts Java Sea Belanakan