FILE: Security forces have arrested a criminal gang over illegal archaeological excavation in Giza governorate
CAIRO - 5 October 2019: Security forces on Saturday arrested a criminal gang with 193 statues and a sarcophagus in Giza which dates back to the fourth dynasty of ancient Egypt.
The suspects have found the ancient pieces inside a cemetery in Giza. The public prosecution and the Tourism Ministry were notified to take legal action.
In February 2019, a man was arrested over illegally digging under his house in Giza in search for artifacts, as part of Tourism police's crackdown against illicit trade in antiquities.
The police were notified that a house owner named Hosny Z. had excavated under his house located near Giza necropolis; in the house, the police found four pieces that are suspected to be antiquities.The man admitted the illegal act and the forces found covered drills.
The seizures were: a 35 cm-statute for a standing person with head missing, a 17*23 cm-stone tableau carrying embossed inscriptions for a man and a woman, a small-sized statute with a broken head and a large scarab.
Last week, a similar incident took place in the same area when a man was incarcerated for illegally excavating two trenches inside his house near the Giza Pyramids to search for monuments.
The illegal excavation in Nazlet al-Samman area led to the discovery of an ancient burial site including six incomplete wall-relief statues, a statement by the General Administration of Tourism and Antiquities Police revealed. The statement did not specify the age of the items discovered.
Law No. 117 of 1983 imposes a prison term of 5 to 7 years and a fine of not less than LE 5,000($284) and not more than LE 7,000 ($397) on anyone who is proven guilty of illegal excavation for antiquities.
An ancient tomb was unearthed beneath a house in Giza, near the more than 4,000-year-old pyramids, after an excavation was carried out by the house owner, Tourism Police said in a statement on Feb. 3.
The house owner was arrested as he excavated illegally. As per the law of antiquities, any excavations should be conducted after getting permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities or from the Tourism Police Department; then, a committee should be formed by officials from the two bodies to check the presence of ancient artifacts.
However, several illegal excavations have been reported recently because the owners of the archaeological sites are not compensated appropriately by the government.