Millions worth of stolen Chinese calligraphy scroll found in Hong Kong, after halving it.
Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong was robbed from the home of an art collector in a robbery last month.
They sold it for a fraction of its value. Hong Kong police said the 2.8-meter-long (9-foot) scroll was cut because it felt too long to display.
The original owner said the value of the artwork was “definitely affected”.
The scroll, which contains handwritten poetic verses by the founder of the People’s Republic of China, is estimated by its owner to be worth about 300m (30 230m).
It was stolen in a massive robbery on September 10 when three men entered the house of the famous collector of stamps and revolutionary art, Fu Chunxiao.
They were made by Mao with ancient stamps, copper coins and other calligraphy pieces. The total distance, according to Mr Fu, was $ 5bn ($ 645m; m 500m), according to Mr Fu, who was on mainland China when the robbery took place.
The thieves sold the piece to another art collector for just HK $ 500 ($ 64; 64 50), according to the South China Morning Post, which believed the artwork was a forgery.
The buyer saw a public appeal to the police and surrendered himself on September 22 with two pieces of scroll.
It is not clear exactly who cut the artwork. Tony Ho, senior superintendent of police in Hong Kong, said: “Someone thought the calligraphy was too long … and difficult to show and display. So it was cut in half.”
“It was heartbreaking to see it torn in two,” Mr Fu told the Post. “It certainly affects its value, but the impact must be seen.”
Police have arrested a 49-year-old buyer on suspicion of handling stolen property, although he has now been released on bail.
A suspected burglar was also arrested, but two other burglars who broke into Mr. Fu’s home were still at large.