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February 1, 2011

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Man detained over 30m yuan relics theft

A MAN has been detained for allegedly stealing cultural relics and calligraphy said to be worth 30 million yuan (US$4.55 million) from a collector in Baoshan District, city police said.

The stolen items, including a jade piece said to be thousands of years old, have been recovered.

The owner, Zhang Song, said the items - more than 160 pieces - were worth "a substantial amount" while police said "they are still determining the total value as the experts' opinions vary." Most of the pieces are jade.

Zhang, a renowned collector, is also the director of the city's Cultural Relics Identification Center under the Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

The suspect, surnamed Pang, has a criminal record, police said. Pang's wife was also detained as an accomplice in hiding the stolen goods, officers said.

Zhang called police on December 2, reporting jade items, cash and bank cards had been stolen from his ground floor home in Baoshan.

There were also signs of a break-in at a household above Zhang's home.

Police first trawled local relics markets and pawn houses for the lost items, without success. The suspect was exposed when he allegedly used Zhang's bank cards at an ATM. Pang was detained on December 5.

Officers said the stolen volume was so large that the registration work alone took 14 hours. Some goods had suffered damage during transport, police said.


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