Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Chinese Tomb Raiding Gang Jailed

In a cultural plunder case said to be the largest in the history of the People’s Republic of China, the leader of a gang of tomb raiders in northern China has been jailed for life and prison terms have been handed out to 24 of his accomplices (Alice Yan 'Chinese ‘tomb raider’ and gang jailed for plunder of ancient relics', South China Morning Post 5th January, 2016). A huge number of decontextualised cultural relics has been seized. The gang leader, whose full name was not given, was jailed by a court in Chaoyang in Liaoning province, the Legal Daily said.
The man, 53, became expert over the years at spotting the location of ancient tombs and could tell where they were simply by studying the landscape, the report said. He [...] was said to be the main grave robber in the province and helped others identify the location of tombs. He was not talkative, but loved reading books, particularly about archaeology, the article said. “He’s good at finding where the [tomb] site is. He just uses astronomical knowledge, mountains’ shapes and maps to exactly make an identification,” one of his assistants was quoted as saying. He always went alone to check out a site and never shared his experience or secrets in searching tombs with others, the report said. But his Achilles’ heel was gambling and on many occasions he would pay in casinos with newly-found items from ancient tombs. When he lost all his money, he would raid tombs again, the report said.
The newspaper reports that the gang's boss and four other main members of the gang were given life terms for taking items from the  5,000 year old Hongshan archaeological site at the end of 2014 and appropriating about 1,200 artefacts. Twenty-five other gang members were jailed for between three to 15 years. the newspaper said.

READ MORE: China’s ancient treasures under siege from army of tomb raiders

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