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Taiwan police arrest tomb raider: report

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Police in Taiwan have arrested a suspected grave robber thought to have stolen gold jewellery worth more than half a million dollars from hundreds of tombs across the island, a report said Saturday.

The man, identified only by his surname Cheng, was arrested in western Yunlin county on Friday after his car was caught on a surveillance camera at a cemetery raided last month, said the Central News Agency.

Cheng told police he starting robbing tombs in 2009 with three accomplices and that he sold the jewellery he stole from about 500 tombs for Tw$15 million (more than US$500,000), the report said.

According to police, Cheng dug up graves at night and cut holes in coffins above the wrists of the deceased to remove gold rings and bracelets, it said.

It is customary in Chinese culture to bury the dead with favourite objects they used while alive, including jewellery.

Yunlin police were not immediately available for comment.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130223/taiwan-police-arrest-tomb-raider-report