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Chinese Tomb Robber Gets Death

June 12, 2001

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BEIJING (AP) _ A Chinese court has sentenced to death the leader of a grave-robbing gang that blasted its way into a 2,000-year-old tomb.

Using explosives, crowbars, ropes and other tools, Zhang Guohua’s gang burrowed into the tomb in central Henan province’s Mangshan county on five occasions in June and July 1996, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday. It did not say when Zhang was sentenced.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Shangqiu, a Henan city 370 miles south of Beijing, sentenced other members of Zhang’s gang to prison terms ranging from seven years to life, Xinhua said.

Police recovered 146 artifacts looted from the tomb, but another six had already been sold and could not be traced, Xinhua said.

The Mangshan grave was part of a complex belonging to the Liang kings, noblemen who ruled during the Western Han dynasty, from 206 B.C. to 24 A.D., the report said.

Earlier excavations in the area turned up an intricate royal burial suit of jade pieces sewn together with gold thread. The suit is now one of China’s best-known archaeological treasures.

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