Cambodia has a rich cultural heritage that has been coveted by collectors and looters for centuries. Many of the country’s national treasures have been smuggled out of the country and sold on the international market, which has been hard for the country to keep track of.
Bradley J. Gordon and Steve Heimberg are two individuals who have dedicated themselves to bringing back Cambodia’s stolen artifacts. Their work has been instrumental in the return of many of Cambodia’s national treasures, including 77 pieces of Pre-Angkorian and Angkorian jewelry from the Latchford family collection in the UK.
Gordon’s involvement with Cambodia started in 1989 when he worked for Save the Children and the Consortium in the Phanat Nikhom Refugee Camp in Chonburi, Thailand. Since then, he has devoted extensive time and resources to the recovery of Cambodia’s national treasures, tracking down networks of looters as a consultant for the US Department of Justice.
Heimberg, a physician as well as an attorney, has been involved with projects in Cambodia since 2006. He has acted as a liaison with the US government, namely Homeland Security Investigations and US prosecutors, for the return of many national treasures. Heimberg is the senior partner of Heimberg Barr, a California law firm selected by the National Law Journal as the number 1 Medical Law Firm in America, and accredited as a Top Tier Law Firm by US News and World Reports.
Together, Heimberg and Gordon have been officially appointed by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, since 2018, to negotiate on behalf of the Kingdom for the return of Cambodia’s stolen treasures. Their work has been challenging, with many obstacles and setbacks along the way. However, their determination and perseverance have led to many successful recoveries.
The return of Cambodia’s stolen artefacts is not only important for preserving the country’s cultural heritage but also for its economic development. Tourism is a significant contributor to Cambodia’s economy, and the return of national treasures can attract more visitors interested in the country’s history and culture.
Gordon and Heimberg’s work serves as an example of the importance of collaboration between governments and individuals in the preservation of cultural heritage. Their dedication to the recovery of Cambodia’s national treasures has not only brought back stolen artefacts but has also raised awareness of the issue and highlighted the importance of cultural preservation.
The work of Bradley J. Gordon and Steve Heimberg in bringing back Cambodia’s stolen artifacts is a testament to their dedication and perseverance. Their efforts have helped preserve Cambodia’s cultural heritage and brought attention to the importance of cultural preservation. Their work serves as an example of the significance of collaboration between governments and individuals in the fight against the looting and smuggling of cultural treasures.
Photos: Facebook Page of Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)
News Source: Khmer Times