Authorities recover 175 ancient relics stolen from over 1,100-year-old tomb site, 39 arrests made
Published: May 12, 2021 10:45 PM
Photo: Sina Weibo

Photo: Sina Weibo

China's Public Security Bureau has arrested 39 criminal suspects and recovered a total of 223 cultural relics including 175 artifacts stolen from an over 1,100-year-old ancient royal mausoleum site in East China's Zhejiang Province, the bureau announced on Wednesday.

According to public security officials, the relics at the tomb site were stolen in May 2019. In March 2020, the local Public Security Bureau in Lin'an district, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province discovered that the robberies had taken place. In May 2020, three criminal suspects were arrested and a batch of relics including a gold and jade belt and swords from the Qian Liu tomb site, the mausoleum for an emperor of the Wuyue State (907-978), were recovered.   

Upon further investigation, the bureau was able to arrest 39 criminal suspects and recover 223 cultural relics from the Qian Liu tomb site and other ancient tombs. Restoration of the tomb site was completed in December 2020. 

"The case will be sent to trial, and if some state officials have violated the law, they will be dealt with strictly according to the law," said Lu Yicheng, the deputy head of the Lin'an district.

The news sparked criticism on social media platforms such Sina Weibo as many netizens wondered why the bureau took so long to announce the case.   

Media reported that the local government is building an archaeological site park for the mausoleum based on the tomb site. The park is set to be opened to the public in June, according to Lu.

The tomb site of Qian Liu, the first king of Wuyue, is the only well-preserved imperial mausoleum in Zhejiang Province. A dedicated management office was established in Lin'an in 1988 to oversee conservation of the site and its relics. Between 1994 and 1997, further excavation and construction was completed at the site. 

In recent years, security personal across the country have cracked more than 1,360 criminal cases involving cultural relics. More than 2,000 criminal suspects have been arrested and more than 26,000 cultural relics, including 48 top grade cultural relics, have been retrieved, according to China's National Cultural Heritage Administration.

Global Times