In one of the largest such raids in the history of the modern state, Chinese authorities arrested 175 people on 26th May for the theft and trafficking of more than 1,000 artefacts worth an estimated $80m.
Those arrested include four archaeologists and one “master raider”, identified only by his last name Yao, who used feng shui to find the best places to dig for objects. The Chinese Cultural Relics Protection Bureau began investigating the illegal operation in June last year when they found signs of digging near Neolithic ruins in Liaoning province. According to the New York Times, police arrested three people who led them to the larger network.
The operation spanned six Chinese provinces and involved a police task force of over 1,000 officers. The looted artifacts range from Neolithic times up to the Qing Dynasty. The looters were split into 10 gangs that handled everything from site excavation to sales. The thieves reportedly used knowledge of traditional feng shui, state of the art devices, and the help of archaeologists to find and dig for saleable relics.
Richelle Simon, 'Chinese police arrest feng shui master and 174 others for looting antiquities ' Art Newspaper 27 May 2015
Austin Ramzy, 'Chinese Tomb Robbers Used Feng Shui to Steal Antiquities' Sinosphere May 27, 2015.