Valuable relics stolen from Beijing`s Palace Museum

Last Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 00:47

Beijing: Valuable relics, brought from a
Hong Kong museum for a visiting exhibit here, were stolen from
China`s famed Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former home
of the country`s emperors.

Seven art pieces made of gold, which were on loan from
the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum, were stolen on Sunday
from the Palace Museum, located inside the Forbidden City,
Feng Nai`en, the spokesman of the Palace Museum, said.

The missing items, which date from the early 20th
century, included small western-style make-up cases encrusted
with jewels.

Feng Nai`en offered an apology to the Hong Kong-based
museum saying that his museum bears an "un-shirkable
responsibility for this regretful incident".

Feng told media here today that a museum staff member
had found and questioned a "suspicious" man in the museum on
Sunday night when the incident happened. However, the man fled
when the worker called museum authorities to report the
situation.

The museum then mobilised all available personnel,
including armed police, to search the museum for the missing
man, he said.

During their search, they found that several pieces of
art were missing. Two of the missing pieces were recovered
nearby and were slightly damaged.

Seven items are still missing, official Chinese news
agency Xinhua quoted police as saying.

Feng said the theft shows that some security
facilities inside the museum might "have some problems,"
adding that the museum will adopt new security equipment and
tighten relevant measures.

Feng said the museum has ordered all of its
departments to thoroughly search all stockhouses, exhibition
halls and security facilities for the missing items, as well
as clues to their whereabouts.

Wang Xiahong, representative of the Liang Yi Museum
said she was "shocked" when she was informed of the theft on
Monday morning but "the incident was not foreseeable."

"It already happened, and I hope that the Palace
Museum doesn`t feel too guilty about it."
Wang didn`t reveal the market values of the stolen
items, saying that the market values cannot reflect the
historical significance the art pieces bear.
Feng said that the Palace Museum will restore and
arrange the temporary exhibition as soon as possible, and
ensure the safety of the remaining pieces.

The exhibit is temporarily closed but expected to
reopen soon.
The Palace Museum last encountered a case of theft in
1991.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 00:47

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