Philip G... - Cops seek "Indiana Jones" in Philippines and Malaysia
Chinese Shipwrecks Yield Treasures and a Dispute
Malaysia is tracking down an American citizen believed to be hiding in a foreign country, in connection with a large number of historical items found in several containers seized here last September.
Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Philip Greco, who holds a permanent resident (PR) status of this country through the 'Malaysia My Second Home' programme, was wanted by the authorities in this country in connection with the historical and heritage goods which had been linked to him.
Malaysian authorities seized eight containers containing ancient items such as kris, spears, drums, cannons, shields, crockery, wooden furniture and others for export to Dubai through Port Klang last September because the goods did not have an export permit.
'If he is sincere, he should return because he possesses the PR status,' he told reporters after visiting the place where the seized items were kept here, Wednesday. Rais said Malaysia needed Greco to provide information on the goods as they had been used to obtain loans from several individuals in this country, including some VIPs. He described the situation as mysterious because Greco managed to bring in the goods by declaring them as 'household goods' worth RM7,600 although the value of the items was at least RM2 million.
Rais said Greco had sought his assistance to exhibit the goods but had withdrawn when Rais asked for documents. Greco might also be wanted by the Customs and police because he had underdeclared his goods and possessed old firearms, he said.
Police would seek Interpol co-operation to track down Greco, Rais added. Greco had managed to escape with two other containers believed filled with valuable items.
The goods would be handed over to their original owners who might claim them, after Malaysia had drawn up a proper list with expert consultation, Rais said.
@ Some Parties Are Claiming Artefacts - Rais
By William J. Broad (New York Times)
Archaeologists object to plans to auction ancient Chinese porcelain and pottery salvaged from Chinese shipwrecks; entrepreneur Phil Greco lived and worked in Philippines for more than decade, collecting 10,000 pieces, some of which are 2,000 years old, in reefs off Philippine islands in South China Sea; he is shipping artifacts to warehouse to be sold in Sept by Guernsey's auction house; Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's, says many of pieces are in remarkable condition; archaeologists complain that private salvors like Greco recover just what has market value, leaving behind other material that is important for research; Emory Kristof, staff photographer for National Geographic magazine, says publications like his are reluctant to feature projects like Greco's lest they appear to be endorsing treasure hunting over archaeology.