Hong Kong Art Crime Conference


On 22 October 2016, Hong Kong’s first ever Art Crime Conference was held by The Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, together with Asia Week HK. Now, one month on, we look back at the topics discussed at this breakthrough multi-disciplinary event. The actual title of the conference was “Art, Antiquities, Heritage and Wildlife Crime in SE Asia” and many leading experts in the field came together to form three panels: ‘Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection’, ‘The Trade in Endangered Species in SE Asia’ and ‘Looting and the Illicit Trade in Antiquities in SE Asia’.

Panel 1:

Speaker 1: Senior Inspector Toby Bull, Hong Kong Police Force; “Stealing Culture – Problems facing the HK and China market”
Speaker 2: Jordan Arnold, MD, Head of Private Client Services, K2 Art Risk Consultancy; “Hello Dali: Anatomy of a Modern Day Art Theft Investigation”
Speaker 3: Joanna Caen, Senior Consultant, Head of Private Wealth – China, Herbert, Smith Freehills, HK
Speaker 4: Emiline Smith, lead researcher for the project Cultural Property in Transit: A Case Study of HK, Trafficking Culture Project, University of Glasgow; “Exploitation through the HK Cultural Property Market”

Panel 2:

Speaker 1: Senior Inspector Toby Bull discussing some HK case studies re illicit trafficking of ivory and rhino horn, as well as looking at HK’s role as a transit point in this sinister trade.
Speaker 2: Francoise Bortolotti, Criminal Intelligence Officer, Works of Art Unit, Interpol; “The WISDOM of INTERPOL in the fight against the illicit trade in ivory and rhino horn in East Africa and Asia” (due to the typhoon that hit HK on 21 October, Ms. Bortolotti was sadly unable to fly into HK and her presentation was delivered on her behalf by Senior Inspector Bull).
Speaker 3: Professor Steven Gallagher, Associate Professor of Practice in Law, Faculty of Law, the Chinese University of HK; “Precious Objects: the case for a legal ivory trade in HK”.

Panel 3:

Speaker 1: Dr. Stefan Gruber, Associate Professor, the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research of Kyoto University; “Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Asian Cultural Artefacts: Domestic Strategies, Regional Cooperation and International Treaties”.
Speaker 2: Professor Simon MacKenzie, Professor of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, member of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow (Trafficking Culture); “Temple looting and statue trafficking in Southeast Asia: The craft and the industry”.
Speaker 3: Special Agent Michael Simpson, Assistant Homeland Security Investigations Attache, HSI HK, Macau & Taiwan; “DHS/ICE Homeland Security Investigations combatting art and antiquities crime”.
Speaker 4: (via Skype) Police Commandant Jean-Christophe Marten Perolin, Ministry of Interior, International Police Cooperation Directorate, Paris, France – who talked on his involvement in the investigation and arrest of one of France’s most famous art forgers, Guy Ribes.