The scroll was discovered damaged when authorities detained a 49-year-old guy in late September on suspicion of handling stolen land. The South China Morning Post, quoting an unidentified police source, reported that the scroll had been cut by a purchaser who had bought it for 500 Hong Kong dollars ($65) and had thought that the scroll to be bogus.
“Based on our analysis, a person believed the calligraphy was overly long,” Tony Ho, senior superintendent of the authorities Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, stated in a news conference Tuesday. “It was tricky to show it to exhibit it, and that is why it had been cut in half”
Authorities said the scroll was a part of a multimillion-dollar theft by three thieves from collector Fu Chunxiao’s flat in September. Fu, who’s well-known for his collection of revolutionary artwork, was in southern China at the time of the burglary and hasn’t been in Hong Kong since January due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The thieves took 24,000 Chinese postage stamps, 10 coins, and seven calligraphy scrolls in Fu’s flat, where he saved his collections. Fu estimated that the Mao calligraphy was worth roughly $300 million and the theft totaled roughly $645 million. No separate analyses of these collections were available.
Authorities have detained three men concerning the burglary and on suspicion of supplying help to offenders.
Even though some of the stolen items are discovered, the 24,000 stamps along with six additional calligraphy scrolls have never been recovered, authorities said.