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Chinese farmer gets thirteen years for Forbidden City palace "spur-of-the-moment" art theft
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Shi Baikui stands trial Monday, March 19, 2012 for stealing art pieces from the Forbidden City last year, at the Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing. The court sentenced the 27-year-old Chinese farmer to 13 years in jail on Monday for stealing art pieces from the Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former imperial palace in China's capital. The sign reads "Defender." AP Photo/Xinhua, Gong Lei.


BEIJING (AP).- A Beijing court sentenced a Chinese farmer to 13 years in jail on Monday for stealing art pieces from the Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former imperial palace in China's capital.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Shi Baikui, 27, was also fined $2,100 for taking the nine items made of gold and jewels in May 2011. It said six were recovered but three pieces worth an estimated $23,800 remain missing.

The stolen pieces were small Western-style gold purses and mirrored compacts covered with jewels.

Xinhua said Shi told the court the theft was a "spur-of-the-moment" act. The incident sparked public concern about security loopholes in the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum.

Xinhua said officials began a four-year security upgrade in 2009 to equip the museum with advanced security equipment and technology.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.





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