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22 tomb raiders caught in East China

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-31 16:52

JINAN -- Police in eastern China's Shandong province have caught 22 tomb raiders and retrieved 229 cultural relics, local authorities announced Thursday.

The tomb raiders belong to two gangs and are suspected of illegal excavations in Dahan village, an ancient ruin consisting of many tombs, according to the public security bureau of Tengzhou city.

The recovered artifacts include bronzeware and jade. Among them, 54 were under class A, B, or C state cultural protection, police said.

One of the most valuable antiques was a dagger-axe, dating back to the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC), said police officer Zhao Kai.

The tomb raiders even had their own cultural relics expert, a suspect in his sixties who once worked as a temporary worker in an institute of archaeology and knew the structure of tombs, according to police officer Wang Chengfeng,

Police said more than ten suspects were still on the run.

The investigation is ongoing.

Tengzhou is home to more than 700 ancient cultural ruins, mostly in remote fields and villages.

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