London Sting Operation Recovers Stolen 15th-Century Chinese Vase Worth $2.5 Million

London Sting Operation Recovers Stolen 15th-Century Chinese Vase Worth .5 Million

A sting operation conducted by British police at a London hotel has resulted in the recovery of a 15th-century Chinese vase worth approximately $2.5 million. The vase, dating back to the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty, was one of three items stolen from the Museum of Far Eastern Art in Geneva in 2019. The Metropolitan Police Service announced the successful operation after two men were found guilty in a London court on charges related to the gang’s attempt to sell the stolen artifact. Another man had previously pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this year, while two additional suspects are awaiting trial in Switzerland for their alleged involvement in the burglary. All five individuals are from southeast London.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Webb, from the Met’s Specialist Crime unit, emphasized the strength of international law enforcement partnerships and the ability to work across borders in apprehending the organized crime group responsible for the theft. The investigation was a collaborative effort between London police and Swiss authorities, initiated after an auction house reported receiving an email seeking a valuation for the stolen vase. Undercover officers offered to purchase the vase for £450,000 ($573,000) and arranged to meet the suspects at a central London hotel, leading to the arrest of the first suspect.

The police are offering a £10,000 ($12,734) reward for information leading to the recovery of a “doucai-style” wine cup with chicken decorations, which was also stolen from the Geneva museum. An 80,000-pound ($101,872) bowl was returned to the museum in 2019 after being sold at an auction in Hong Kong. The theft of Chinese antiquities has become a lucrative market, resulting in several high-profile heists in recent years, including thefts from British museums and auction houses in 2012, where jade bowls, figurines, and other valuable items were stolen.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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