CHINA / Regional

Mystery of 121 human skulls cleared
Updated: 2006-04-13 10:19

The 121 human skulls found in northwest China's Gansu Province were robbed from tombs and used for handicrafts, the public security department of the provincial government confirmed Wednesday.

Skulls are seen in this March 29, 2006 file photo taken in Tianzhu County, northwestern China's Gansu province. Police Wednesday confirmed that 121 skulls found in the western part of Northwest China's Gansu Province were human and had been hacked from their bodies after death. [newsphoto]

A gang of farmers, led by a farmer surnamed Qiao from Huzhu County in neighboring Qinghai Province, robbed the skulls from many old and unclaimed tombs in the wild, and sold them to another man in the county surnamed Liang, the state media said, citing the Gansu public security authority.

Liang sawed off the tops of the skulls, and sold them to a man surnamed Liu from Yongjing County in Gansu.

Liu processed the skull tops into handicrafts, and sold them to rake in illegal profits.

Prior to the Spring Festival this year, Liang discarded the remains of the skulls packed in a bag in a forest in Gansu's Tanshanling Town.

The skulls, found by a herdsman last month, were first thought to be those of monkeys. But some experts suspected they were of humans, after one skull was discovered wearing false teeth. The clearly visible, clean-cut edges also implied they had been sawn off.

A forensic medical expert with the Ministry of Public Security announced last week that they were human skulls.


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