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China police nab robbers of 2,000-year-old imperial cemetery

(Xinhua)

08:46, October 26, 2011

XI'AN, Oct. 25 (Xinhua)-- Police in northwest China's Shaanxi province said Tuesday they have apprehended nine people who attempted to rob a 2,000-year-old cemetery where 19 kings from the ancient State of Qin were buried.

The grave robbers allegedly used explosives to create a 19 meter-deep tunnel in order to reach an underground tomb tagged as the sixth tomb in the Qingong Cemetery, police said.

However, the priceless relics inside the tomb survived as the group failed to blast through the final wooden wall surrounding the tomb, police said.

The cemetery, located in Fengxiang County about 170 kilometers from the provincial capital of Xi'an, covers an area of 20,000 hectares and houses a total of 49 tombs.

It is the ancestral cemetery of Qin Shihuang, the man who became the first emperor of China when his State of Qin unified the country under its rule in 221 BC.

Police are still hunting for several other members of the band of thieves.

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