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CDNN :: 'Deep Sea Detectives' Richie Kohler accused of looting war wreck

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Richie Kohler
A renowned marine archaeologist has accused TV scuba diving celebrity Richie Kohler (pictured above) of stealing artifacts from a WWII shipwreck and looting a war grave. According to marine archaeologist Rob Rondeau, the owners of the Koh Tao-based MV Trident are boasting about how much beer they drank and how many artifacts they managed to steal while looting the 'Tottori Maru', a Japanese war wreck.

KOH TAO, Thailand (5 May 2008) — Canadian marine archaeologist Rob Rondeau has asked the Government of Thailand to crack down on scuba divers who loot important historical shipwrecks in the Kingdom. In a letter to Consul General Kosit Chatpaiboon, of the Royal Thai Consulate General in Vancouver, Rondeau asked that Thailand declare several archaeologically important shipwreck sites in the Gulf of Thailand off-limits to recreational divers. And, he wants a charter boat company, based from the resort island of Koh Tao, investigated for looting and violating international maritime law.

Rondeau learned last week that a group of New Jersey tourists recently chartered the company's boat, the MV Trident, to take them to the wreck of the notorious Japanese "hell ship," the Tottori Maru. Dive celebrity Richie Kohler, co-host of the popular t.v. series Deep Sea Detectives, lead the dive trip.  The group is reported to have taken numerous artifacts from the wreck, including one of the ship's telegraphs.

On October 8th, 1942, approximately 2,000 American prisoners of war (POWs) were taken aboard the Tottori Maru in the Philippines. From there, the ship traveled to Korea, picking up more Allied POWs at different ports along the way. Some were off-loaded at the city of Pusan and shipped by train to Manchuri, where they were interred at the infamous Mukden concentration camp.  It included "Unit 731," where deadly medical experiments were peformed on Allied POWs. The rest were sent to Osaka, Japan.  Few of the original 2,000 POWs who went aboard survived the war...

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