Wednesday, 20 Jan 2021

$500 million Hong Kong burglary nets collector’s stamps, calligraphy

A brazen Hong Kong burglar swiped more than $500 million worth of antique stamps and Chinese revolutionary items during a daylight heist from an apartment owned by a well-known collector, according to reports.

The thief broke into the apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city’s bustling Kowloon district, a police source told AFP on Wednesday about the Sept. 10 crime.

The staggering haul — worth $516 million — from the apartment in the Yau Ma Tei neighborhood included calligraphy by Chairman Mao Zedong and five extremely valuable antique stamps, the South China Morning Post reported.

Fu, a member of the Hong Kong Philatelic Society, was in mainland China at the time of the burglary, according to the police source, who asked not to be identified.

The thief walked into the 16-story building, pried open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment, according to AFP.

“There were signs of ransacking and therefore the guard called police,” a law enforcement source told the South China Morning Post. “The victim later confirmed that calligraphy and some stamps were missing.”

Another police source said the value of the loot came to light when Fu sent his daughter to Hong Kong to assist in the investigation.

Police were hunting for two people seen on security footage leaving the building, the news outlet reported.

A third source told the Morning Post that the break-in did not appear to be “the work of professional burglars.”

“It was possible the burglars had information that the occupant was not in town and that his flat stored the expensive items,” the police source said.

In 2018, Fu organized an exhibition of Mao Zedong stamps in Hong Kong and displayed more than 200 items from his collection.

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