|Phrathat Doi Suthep temple in Thailand's northern Chiang Mai province (AFP Photo)|
Thai authorities have seized 138 ancient wooden Buddha images and artifacts which were due to be smuggled to the United States, customs officials and Bangkok police said Tuesday.
The raid last Friday followed a tip-off by railway police that a haul of Buddha statues were going to be shipped illegally from the Thai capital to San Francisco, where they were to be sold, the officials said.
Authorities intercepted the container at Bangkok's Makkasan railway station. Destined for Klong Toei port, the box was addressed to Jack David Porter and the contents were declared as costume jewelry boxes, dolls, cutlery and lamps, they said.
When police checked inside they found 138 antique wooden Buddha images, carved Buddha heads and ancient Buddhist scripture boxes.
"Initial investigations suggest most of the Buddha images are from Myanmar but we have to wait for fine arts officials to verify," said Major General Santi Vichakkhana, the railway police commander.
The fine arts officials will also determine the age of the artifacts.
Santi said that no arrests had been made so far.