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Mainland tourist held over Taiwan relic theft

By Zhang Yan and Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

08:47, May 11, 2012

The Ministry of Public Security has confirmed that a mainland tourist who is suspected to have stolen a rare military decoration when he traveled to Jinmen Island near Fujian province has been detained, and that the relic was recovered.

"Traffic police detained a 77-year-old man at Shandong train station on a train heading to Harbin in Heilongjiang province from Xiamen," said a statement the ministry provided to China Daily on Wednesday.

The ministry said it is working closely with police in Taiwan, and have reached consensus about a detailed judicial procedure.

"Under the agreement, mainland police will investigate and prosecute the robber based on the country's Criminal Law, and Taiwan police will assist in providing surveillance records as evidence," the statement said. "After the criminal proceedings, the recovered military decoration will be returned to Taiwan as soon as possible."

Taiwan media reported that Qiao Zhaoqing, the 77-year-old suspect, is a Heilongjiang resident who was on a 40-person tour group leaving for Taiwan on April 29, and he visited the island as the last stop on the trip.

The stolen decoration - awarded to late general Hu Lian in 1943 for his leadership and courage during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) - had been sealed in a display case in Juguang Tower, the symbol of Jinmen Island and a popular tourist spot.

"After watching the surveillance video, it seems the suspect used a screwdriver to release two of the four screws, but he didn't leave any crime tool at the spot. The crime lasted for 2 minutes and 20 seconds," according to Tsai Tsang-po, director-general of the Jinmen police bureau.


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