The government was thrown into urgent face-saving mode recently when an amateur robber made away with 9 pieces from the Forbidden City’s Palace Museum. The obvious question was how could a crude smash-and-grab job could’ve gotten past the “heavily-guarded” Palace museum? However the police at least have a suspect into custody now. A man called Shi Bokui who authorities said they found at an internet cafe on Wednesday has confessed to the robbery.
The stolen pieces were all small Western-style gold purses and jeweled mirrored compacts made in the last century and were on loan from the private Liangyicang Museum in Hong Kong. A few of the stolen items have been returned and two were slightly damaged, it was confirmed. Other specifics were not given.
Now we don’t know what possesses someone to make off with a few historic pieces so clumsily (an intense distate for fresh air and personal freedoms maybe?) but it was such a shoddy amateur job, Karen Smith, a Beijing art curator and historian “noted that the robbery targeted items of relatively low value and prestige, not the museum’s best-known treasures such as its large collection of rare and delicate scroll paintings. Those pieces are undoubtedly much better protected, she said. ‘If you were really going to go and steal something from the Palace Museum, there’s a lot more valuable things you could make off with.'”