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April 15, 2016

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Tomb-raiding gang leader faces death

THE head of a tomb-raiding gang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, and other gang members were given prison terms, a court in northeast China’s Liaoning Province said yesterday.

When the gang, led by Yao Yuzhong, were arrested last year it was one of the biggest busts of its kind supervised by the Ministry of Public Security since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.

Chaoyang City Intermediate People’s Court sentenced 22 members of the gang yesterday.

Yao was found guilty of several offenses including tomb raiding, looting and selling stolen antiques.

Of the 32 artifacts recovered by police, 16 were under grade-one state cultural protection.

The court yesterday ordered that 77 relics still in the possession of the gang members must be returned.

Yao’s gang was among 12 organizations implicated in illegal excavations at Niuheliang, a Neolithic site in Liaoning.

Police apprehended 225 suspects and confiscated 2,063 ancient artifacts.


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