2 May 2006

Vanuatu still trying to locate artefact thieves

7:10 pm on 2 May 2006

Vanuatu's Cultural Centre says it knows who is responsible for trying to export stolen artefacts overseas.

Police in Port Vila have recovered a sacred carved stone pig and other items that was about to be shipped to the US.

The Centre's Director Ralph Regenvanu says he can't reveal names, but they are gathering evidence to ensure that those responsible will be caught.

He says local and international police and various shipping agents have been notified of the practice.

Mr Regenvanu says its unknown how many artefacts have been stolen and sold overseas at premium prices.

"It's basically one group of people who are involved in all the thefts of artefacts that's happening right now, and the reason for such a high number of artefacts being stolen is there is this one group that we know of who are responsible for all the thefts we know of right now. Its just a matter of getting all these artefacts back to where they came from."

The Director of Vanuatu's Cultural Centre Ralph Regenvanu