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August 22, 2009

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Tomb-raid gang busted

BEIJING police detained eight people from an organized tomb-raiding group obsessed with fengshui, officers said yesterday.

Police only gave the surnames of two detainees as Wang and Shi.

"Wang, from central China's Henan Province, confessed that the 11-strong crew had consulted fengshui masters and raided more than 50 tombs in Daxing, Chaoyang, Tongzhou and Fangshan districts in Beijing since he and 10 others met in 2006," said Zhang Jun, an officer with Beijing Public Security Bureau.

Fengshui is the traditional Chinese study of geomantic omens used to find auspicious locations for buildings and cemeteries.

Zhang said the raiders employed a fengshui consultant who drew maps of possible ancient tomb locations in suburban Beijing, capital of six Chinese dynasties.

The raiders used a 2-meter iron probe to detect underground coffins in the targeted areas.

Chinese tomb raiders often make a fortune by raiding ancient tombs in a country where wealthy people used to be buried with treasures, such as gold, silverware and jade articles, in the hope of enjoying an affluent afterlife.

The group of raiders had stolen a large number of cultural relics dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Zhang said.


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