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Mao parchment stolen from Hong Kong Heist

HONG KONG – Thieves took $ 645 million worth of artifacts from a Hong Kong apartment while the owner was in mainland China. Then they left by taxi.

Among the stolen items were 24,000 period stamps, 10 bronze coins and seven scrolls of calligraphy that the owner, Fu Chunxiao, said were written by Mao Zedong.

Most of the stolen items remain missing, but the parchment, which measures three meters, reached a buyer before being recovered by the police. It was not in its original state.

“He found the piece of calligraphy too long and difficult for viewers to show, so he cut it in half,”

; Ho Chun-tung, a police superintendent, told reporters this week, referring to the man who allegedly bought the scroll. stolen. “If he knows the authenticity and value of handwriting, that’s something we need to keep investigating.”

Police said the termination of the case came when a taxi driver who took the men on the day of the theft in September came forward with information. On Thursday, police charged a 44-year-old suspect identified only as Wu with burglary. He was arrested in Hong Kong, along with another man identified as Tan, 47, accused of harboring “a criminal”.

The alleged buyer, a 49-year-old man identified only as Lin, was arrested last month immediately after the robbery. He was accused of handling stolen goods. Local news outlets said he had only paid $ 65 for the recovered roll.

The collector, Mr. Fu, said The South China Morning Post newspaper which was devastated by burglary and damage to the scroll. He said it was the most valuable of his stolen possessions. Mr. Fu estimated his total losses at $ 645 million, according to police.

“It was heartbreaking to see it ripped into two pieces,” he is said to have said of the scroll. “It will certainly affect its value, but the impact remains to be seen.”

A police spokesperson said over the phone that authorities had not independently determined the value of the roll. Chinese art auction houses did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

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