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|Tuesday, May 15, 2001, updated at 15:15(GMT+8)|
Four Sentenced to Death for Robbing Cultural RelicsFour principal members of a gang involved in robbing cultural relics have been given death penalty by the Intermediate People's Court of Taiyuan, the capital of north China's Shanxi Province.
Sixteen other members of the gang have been given different prison terms.
From April of 1994 to April of 1999, the members of the gang from Shanxi and north China's Hebei Provinces stolen two first-class national culture relics, two second-class culture relics and eleven third-class culture relics in several counties of Shanxi Province.
They also stolen one stone sculpture dating back to the Ming Dynasty��1368-1644�� and one wooden sculpture and two wooden Bodhisattvas sculptures. But no data are available to determine what class the four culture relics belong to.
On October 13, 1995 and July 29, 1998, carrying guns and shears, they broke into two historical sites to steal six second-class national cultural relics, six third-class national cultural relics, and six common cultural relics.
They sold for 600,000 yuan the body of a pagoda dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to Chen Zhonggui, a Taiwanese smuggler. Some collections of a museum in Qingxian County, i.e. one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas, the body of a Bodhisattva and a head portrait of a Bodhisattva, were also sold to Chen for 150,000 yuan.
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