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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 12:32 GMT
Stolen Javanese statues returned
By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Jakarta

Five ancient statues allegedly stolen from an Indonesian museum by its curator have been found, officials say.

The statues were returned to the museum in the Javanese city of Surakarta after being found in the capital Jakarta.

Police have already arrested three members of museum staff and accused them of stealing statues from the collection and selling them off.

The five stone statues are all from central Java and date from the 7th to 9th centuries.

State investigators say the items are among nine pieces that went missing from the museum.

Three bronze statues and a porcelain plate are still missing.

No inventory

Investigators allege that the curator, helped by his staff, stole the pieces from the collection and replaced them with fakes.

The alleged scam was brought to light by a former employee, who told a professor at a local university what had happened.

The state archaeology body, which investigated her claims, said there had been no inventory at the museum for six years, and that many other items could be missing.

The museum, which was founded more than 100 years ago, is the oldest in Indonesia.

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