Stolen Mao calligraphy worth millions found cut in half
HONG KONG (AP) - Former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's calligraphy scroll, valued at millions of dollars, was cut in half after it was stolen in a high-profile break-in in Hong Kong last month, police said.
The scroll was found damaged when police arrested a 49-year-old man in late September on suspicion of handling stolen property. The South China Morning Post, citing an unidentified source, reported to police that the scroll had been cut in half by a buyer who bought it for Hong Kong dollars (US $ 65) and believed it to be counterfeit.
"According to our investigation, someone thought the calligraphy was too long," Tony Ho, chief superintendent of the Bureau of Organized Crime and Police Triad, told a news conference Tuesday. "It was difficult to show, to show, so it was cut in half."
Police said the scroll was part of a multi-million dollar theft by three burglars from collector Fu Chunxiao's home in September. Known for his collection of postage stamps and revolutionary art, Fu was in mainland China at the time of the break-in and has not been in Hong Kong since January due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The burglars took 24,000 Chinese postage stamps, 10 coins and seven calligraphy scrolls from Fu's home, where he kept his collections. Fu estimated the value of Mao calligraphy at about $ 300 million and the theft at $ 645 million. There were no independent assessments of the collections.
Police have arrested three men in connection with the break-in and suspicion of helping criminals. At least two people linked to the break-in are still at large, Ho said.
Although some of the stolen items were found, the 24,000 postage stamps and six other calligraphy scrolls were not found, police said.
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