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Spate of alarming antique robberies in Hà Nội

Update: July, 15/2020 - 09:09

HÀ NỘI — Recently, dozens of antiques have been robbed from 20 historic relics in seven districts of Hà Nội, causing concern among people and agencies.

Nhật Tân Communal House in Tây Hồ District, which is equipped with security cameras, an alarm system and two guards at night, was broken into.

Đại Định Communal House in Tam Hưng Commune, Thanh Oai District on the western outskirts of Hà Nội, where many robberies have taken place in the past few months. Photo hanoimoi.com.vn

On March 29, burglars broke in the communal house from the roof. Cameras filmed them and the alarm went off. Guards rushed to the house and the burglars fled without any antiques.

Nguyễn Văn Hiệp, who helps take care of the house, said the break-in was a warning for relic sites, which require better security care.

Immediately afterwards, the relic management board installed four more cameras in the house, increasing the total number to nine at the site and one more alarm horn on the roof.

Other sites weren't so lucky, however.

Many burglaries took place between March 13 and April 11. In Thanh Oai District, on the western outskirts of Hà Nội, there have been four burglaries in Bối Khê Pagoda, Đai Định Communal House, Dư Dụ Pagoda and Từ Châu Pagoda with up to 26 antiques stolen.

In Thường Tín District, since January, there have been six burglaries at relic sites in five communes.

In Ứng Hòa District, since early 2019, burglaries have taken place at Hạ Temple, Dương Khê Communal House, Tràng Communal House, and Hoàng Xá Communal House, in which various ancient objects like royal promotion letters, incense holders and bronze jars were taken away.

In Phú Xuyên District the same problem has happened in the communes of Đại Xuyên and Văn Hoàng, Tân Dân.

In Chương Mỹ District, thieves snatched a box of royal promotion documents, various ancient documents and cash on March 22.

On January 23, three holy worshipped chairs were stolen from Vân Công Communal House, in Vân Côn Commune of Hoài Đức District.

“The above-mentioned figures show that burglaries at relic sites have occurred more and more,” said Nguyễn Doãn Văn, head of Hà Nội’’s Relic Site and Landscape Management Board. “The incidents happened during the social distancing period. Many valuable antiques were lost, which may never be found again.”

There are nearly 6,000 relic sites throughout Hà Nội, one of which, Thăng Long Imperial Citadel Complex, has been recognised as a world heritage site, 18 national special relic sites, 50 historical relic sites, more than 1,800 communal houses and some 2,000 pagodas, more than 800 of which host many national treasures and valuable antiques.

“Most of the guarding force are retirees or elders who work voluntarily,” he said. “Many relic sites are located far from residential areas, which aids burglars.”

He also said not all relic sites have security cameras and alarm systems.

Authorities in Thanh Oai District have asked concerned agencies to list worship objects and ancient documents at relic sites.

The Thanh Oai People’s Committee has encouraged individuals and organisations to donate to install cameras at relic sites. The body also asked relic sites to enhance locks, alarm systems and work with local police to prevent thefts of worship objects and money donated at relic sites.

The city's culture department has asked the People’s Committee to direct agencies to strictly follow the city’s regulations on protecting and developing relics and landscape sites

Tô Văn Động, director of the Hà Nội culture department, said districts and towns need to support guards at relic sites as well as local police to prevent burglaries.

Last month, the committee sent a document to local agencies to take greater care of guarding relic sites and enhance people’s awareness of the need to protect relics and antiques at the sites. —VNS

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