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13 years in jail for palace thief

13 years in jail for palace thief

Updated: 2012-03-20 08:00

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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The farmer who shocked China by stealing relics from the Forbidden City was convicted of theft and given a 13-year prison sentence on Monday.

Short and thin, Shi Baikui looked depressed during his trial at Beijing No 2 intermediate people's court.

Shi was also fined 13,000 yuan ($2,060) and was deprived of his political rights for three years.

Prosecutor Li Songyi told China Daily that the conviction was fair and the 28-year-old farmer deserved such punishment.

"Shi's theft happened in a famous and vital museum of the country, which brought serious negative effects to society," Li said, adding the accusation was also based on the value of the stolen artifacts, without saying how much they were worth.

On the evening of May 8, Shi, a farmer from Caoxian county in East China's Shandong province, hid in a remote path and kicked a hole in a wall of an area under repair to break into the Hall of Abstinence in the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum.

Shi then stole nine artifacts after destroying the alarm system of the museum.

The stolen artifacts were small gold purses and cosmetics containers covered with jewels, made between 1920 and 1945. They were on loan from the private Hong Kong Liangyi Museum and were part of a temporary exhibit at the Palace Museum.

13 years in jail for palace thief 

Shi Baikui, the farmer who admitted stealing relics from the Forbidden City, was given a 13-year prison sentence by a Beijing court on Monday.[Photo/Xinhua]

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