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Four imprisoned for robbing tombs in Beijing

By CAO YIN | | Updated: 2013-03-20 19:01

Four members of a gang have been given prison sentences and hefty fines after stealing artifacts from tombs in Beijing's Chaoyang district.

Han Fei, a native of Anhui province, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for robbing the graves and fined 20,000 yuan ($3,220), the most serious punishment among the four, said the district court verdict.

Zhao Xianhai and Zhao Yunyin, also Anhui natives, were found guilty of being Han’s partners and have been sentenced to seven years and 42 months respectively, and fined 14,000 yuan and 7,000 yuan.

The last member of the gang, Liu Biao, a scout member from Chaoyang district itself, was sentenced to nine years and fined 18,000 yuan, after being found guilty of taking the three robbers to the sites, digging up cultural relics and disposing of the stolen goods at an antiques market.

The court heard that the four dug up many cultural relics, including a jade bracelet, copper items and a hair clasp, in the district’s Shibalidian area between December 2011 and March 2012, according to Shi Yan, a legal worker in the court.

All the stolen items were funerary objects from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and were considered valuable historical items, Shi said.

The relics were sold by the thieves at Panjiayuan, a famous antiques market in the capital.

After being arrested, Liu confessing that he had helped the three tomb robbers identify the graves, and then as a resident he was able to take them to the construction sites, Shi said.

The four have not appealed to any higher court after hearing the verdicts.

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