Chinese police nab 175 'tomb raiders' who looted ancient site

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security posted this photo of one of the raided tombs.

Story highlights

  • Police recover more than 1,000 relics worth at least $80 million, authorities say
  • The case is described as the biggest of its kind in more than 65 years

Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese police have arrested 175 "tomb raiders" who stole ancient artifacts from a Neolithic site in the country's northeast, authorities said.

Police recovered 1,168 cultural relics worth more than 500 million yuan ($80 million) from the alleged looters, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said Tuesday. It described the case as the biggest of its kind in more than 65 years
    The suspected tomb raiders are accused of causing serious damage through illegal excavations at Niuheliang, a Neolithic site in Liaoning province, the ministry said.
    More than 1,000 police officers took part in the operation to catch the suspects, who belong to 10 different gangs, authorities said.
    Among the relics retrieved by police is a coiled jade dragon, which officials described as one of the earliest known representations of the venerated Chinese cultural symbol.