Tomb raiders jailed in NE China

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-08-17 16:48:05

A gang of 38 tomb raiders have been jailed in Northeast China's Liaoning province. They were involved in 36 cases of stealing from ancient ruins, including from a state-level protected heritage site dating back 1,000 years, a local court said Tuesday.

Gang leader Wu Anjie, 48, was given a jail term of 11 years and six months. Other sentences ranged from one year to nine years, according to a statement issued by the Benxi Intermediate People's Court.

Using a metal detector, the gang stole from tombs and other ancient ruins from 2006 to 2014, obtaining gold earrings, the pearl accessories of ancient officials, copper coins, and ancient pots with significant historical, artistic and research value.

In the most prominent case, a state-level ruin in Liaoyang containing a porcelain kiln from the Liao (916-1125), Jin (960-1276) and Yuan dynasties (1271-1368) was seriously damaged when the gang stole significant historical and cultural artifacts from the ruins in 2006 and 2007.

The court made its final ruling in late July.

The tomb theft case follows the largest case of its kind in modern China, when 175 member tomb thieves stole artifacts valued at more than 500 million yuan (about $75 million). In April this year, the gang leader Yao Yuzhong was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve.

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