Man Arrested over Forbidden City Break-in

When a number of precious objects on loan from a Hong Kong collector were stolen from the Forbidden City, the art world was taken by surprise that artwork in Beijing’s major museum weren’t more carefully guarded. Today Beijing authorities say they have apprehended a suspect and recovered some of the objects. From the Guardian:

It was the first theft in 20 years from the historic site, the tourist attraction’s spokesman Feng Nai’en said, adding that security would be increased.

An investigation found that nine pieces all small Western-style gold purses and mirrored compacts covered with jewels made in the 20th century were missing from the temporary exhibition, on loan from the private Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong.

Two of the missing items were recovered nearby shortly after the theft and were slightly damaged.

State media said on Thursday that police had caught a man called Shi Bokui in an Internet cafe Wednesday night who confessed to the robbery. The China Daily said some of the seven remaining stolen pieces were recovered, but did not give details.

Feng said Wednesday the entire Palace Museum will be checked to see if any other items are missing.

See also a report from Global Times. Xinhua recounts all the past thefts from the Forbidden City.

May 11, 2011 11:09 PM
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