Chinese Police Arrest 175 Antiquity Looters in $80 Million Feng Shui Heist
Chinese authorities have arrested 175 people in what is reportedly the largest trafficking case since the Chinese People’s Republic was founded 66 years ago, the New York Times reports.
The haul, worth an estimated $80 million, consisted of 1,000 artifacts which were seized in an operation spanning six Chinese provinces and involving a police task force of over 1,000 officers. The looted artifacts range from Neolithic times up to the Qing Dynasty, which came to an end in the early 20th century.
The thieves reportedly used knowledge of traditional feng shui, state of the art devices, and the help of archeologists to find and dig for the valuable relics, which included a jade “pig dragon” from the 5,000-year-old Hongshan culture that existed in what is now Inner Mongolia.
“The signs of digging were all surrounding historic ruins, deep in the mountains, off the beaten track,” said Wang Hongyan, cultural relics protection bureau chief for the Chaoyang city Public Security Bureau, to the Beijing Times.
The Chinese Ministry of Public Security, who announced the arrests on Tuesday, also said that the site had been damaged by the looting.
A number of archeologists were also arrested, with one of them telling the Beijing Times that he had sold the jade pig dragon for 3.2 million renminbi ($520,000) and bought houses for himself and his parents with the profits.
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