Palace Museum apologizes for stolen relics, museum security to be tightened
From： Writer： Date：2011-05-12
A spokesman with the Beijing-based Palace Museum offered an apology to the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum on Wednesday following the theft of several of the Hong Kong museum's relics from one of the Palace Museum's exhibitions.
Stating that there is a "heavy weight on my mind," Feng Nai'en, spokesman and curator assistant with the museum, said at a news conference that "the Palace Museum bears an unshirkable responsibility for this regretful incident."
According to Feng, a museum staff member found and questioned a "suspicious" man in the museum at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night. The man escaped when the worker called museum authorities to report the situation.
The museum then mobilized all available personnel, including armed police, to search the museum for the missing man, Feng said.
Feng revealed that several pieces of art were found missing from a temporary exhibition. The works were on loan from the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum and were discovered missing at 8:20 a.m. the next day.
Two of the missing pieces have been recovered so far, but are both slightly damaged, said Feng. Seven items are still missing, according to police reports.
Feng said that the incident has been reported to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Culture.
Feng said the museum has ordered all of its departments to thoroughly search all stockhouses, exhibition halls and security facilities for the missing items, as well as clues to their whereabouts.
The Palace Museum last encountered a case of theft in 1991. That case was eventually solved.