Three people have been sent to jail in Hong Kong for stealing artworks worth millions, including a calligraphy scroll penned by former Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong.

The three accused men, Ho Yik-chiu, Ng Wing-lun, and Hui Ping-kei, have pleaded guilty and been sent to jail for two and a half years.

The ancient scroll, worth around $300m (£230m) was sold for HK$200 (£20) as the men were not aware of its value. They sold it to an amateur collector, reported the South China Morning Post.

The calligraphy was cut in half by the collector who did not know the worth of the scroll scripted by Zedong, the report added.

Carrying the details of a meeting between members of the Chinese Communist Party and several stanzas of Mao’s poetry, the calligraphy scroll was stolen in September 2020 in a robbery bid.

They were stolen from the home of Fu Chunxiao, a renowned collector of stamps and revolutionary art, who was in mainland China at the time of the theft.

Among other things, the accused stole antique stamps, copper coins and other pieces of calligraphy penned by Mao.

The total cost of the stolen items was around HK$5bn (£500m), Mr Fu had said. According to the court, the three accused are habitual offenders who went to the residence of the renowned art expert as they were aware of his whereabouts.

Police learnt of the heist after a buyer saw a public appeal and surrendered himself with the two pieces of calligraphy scroll.

However, other items from the theft have not been found.



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