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Man to stand trial for Forbidden City theft


14:28, January 20, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese farmer will stand trial at a Beijing court for stealing priceless art pieces from the Forbidden City last year, court authorities said Thursday.

Shi Baikui, 27, has been prosecuted on theft charges and the Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing is hearing the case, the court said in a statement.

Shi, from the eastern Shandong province, was suspected of having broken into the heavily guarded former home of Chinese emperors in the heart of Beijing, and stolen nine art pieces made of gold and jewels, on May 8, 2011, it said.

While hastily escaping, Shi left behind five of the pieces in the Forbidden City's compound. Failing to immediately sell the treasures, he threw the other four pieces away the next day, the document said.

Six pieces were recovered and the three missing were estimated to be worth 150,000 yuan (23,760 U.S. dollars) in total.

Shi was apprehended by police at an Internet cafe in Beijing's Fengtai district 58 hours after the theft.

Investigators found he had stolen a laptop computer, cell phones and a wallet containing 500 yuan on two occasions in 2010 and 2011.

The court statement said Shi had confessed to the thefts and he would be punished according to law.

The case is under further investigation.


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