Viet Nam News
THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — The concrete tomb built for a king’s mother under the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945) in Huế has been excavated illegally, with local authorities suspecting lust for gold being behind the grave robbing.
Tôn Thất Tam Kỳ, a manager of the Nguyễn Family Committee, who represents descendants of the dynasty kings in the country and around the world, said he discovered the excavation earlier this week and reported the case.
At the scene, a stone stele and its base had been removed from their original place in the tomb, while the concrete grave was destroyed.
Phan Thanh Hải, director of the Huế Monuments Conservation Centre, who manages all heritage monuments left by the dynasty in the city, said the tomb was built for Trần Thị Nga, mother of the dynasty’s fifth king Dục Đức and grandmother of the 10th king Thành Thái.
Hải told Việt Nam News that he transferred the case to the Huế City People’s Committee as the tomb has not been recognised as a heritage item yet. “The tomb is located inside a cemetery of the Nguyễn Family Committee and the area is under the management of the city committee,” he said.
Nguyễn Văn Hòa, chairman of Thủy Xuân Ward, the locality where the tomb is located, said the case is under investigation, but he believed the intruder was seeking gold, as an intruder in a previous case in the tomb confessed he was looking for gold.
Many people in Việt Nam believe that gold and other jewellery items were buried in the tombs of kings and royal family members.
The Nguyễn Dynasty was the last imperial rulers of Việt Nam. King Dục Đức ruled the country for three days after he was adopted by King Tự Đức from a sibling family. Although he was the fifth king, his son Thành Thái was the 10th king of the dynasty due to turmoil created by French colonists. — VNS