A stolen Chinese calligraphy scroll written by Chairman Mao Zedong and estimated to be worth millions of dollars has been found in Hong Kong, police said on Thursday, after it was stolen from an art collector’s home in September.
The 2.8-metre scroll had been cut in half as it been deemed too long to display, police told a news conference on Wednesday.
It was looted on Sept. 10, along with stamps, coins and other pieces of calligraphy worth a total of HK$5 billion ($645 million), said senior superintendent Tony Ho.
An independent valuation was not immediately available.
Mao memorabilia remains highly sought after in China with many businesses in the mainland trying to cash in by selling collectables from the Cultural Revolution. Fakes are rampant due to a proliferation of reproductions.
“Someone thought the calligraphy was too long ... and difficult to show and display. That’s why it was cut in half,” Ho said.
The scroll was cut in two for storage purposes by a buyer who purchased it for a mere HK$500 ($65) and believed it to be counterfeit, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an unnamed police source.
Police have arrested three men for the robbery.
Meanwhile, in another bizarre incident, a Texas woman has been convicted of stealing goods for over 19 years and then selling them all on eBay.
Kim Richardson, now 63, had been running the scam since she was in her early 40s. Her crimes were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Secret Service. The crime – stealing millions of dollars of merchandise by shoplifting or other methods and selling them all online.
She has received a sentence of 54 months or 4.5 years in federal prison. She also has to pay restitution of $3.8 million (a whopping 22 crores in Indian Rupees), according to a press release by US Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
(With Reuters inputs)