|Representative of the Liang Yi Museum Wang Xiahong (L), spokesman and curatorial assistant with the Palace Museum Feng Nai'en (C) attend a news conference in Beijing, capital of China, May 11, 2011. A spokesman with the Palace Museum, located inside the world-famous Forbidden City in Beijing, offered an apology to the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum on Wednesday after several of the Hong Kong museum's relics were stolen from an exhibition at the Palace Museum. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, May 11 (Xinhua) -- A spokesman with the Beijing-based Palace Museum, located inside the world-famous Forbidden City, offered an apology to the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum on Wednesday after several of the Hong Kong museum's relics were stolen from an exhibition at the Palace Museum.
Saying that there is a "heavy weight on my mind," Feng Nai'en, Spokesman and Curatorial Assistant with the Palace Museum, said at a news conference that "the Palace Museum bears an unshirkable responsibility for this regretful incident."
According to Feng, a museum staff member found and questioned a "suspicious" man in the museum at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night. The man fled when the worker called museum authorities to report the situation.
The museum then mobilized all available personnel, including armed police, to search the museum for the missing man, Feng said.
Feng revealed that several pieces of art were later found missing from a temporary exhibition. The items were on loan from the Hong Kong-based Liang Yi Museum and were discovered missing at 8:20 a.m. the next day.
Two of the missing pieces have been recovered so far, but are both slightly damaged, said Feng.
Seven items are still missing, according to police reports.
The missing items, as seen in pictures provided at the news conference, include small Western-style make-up cases encrusted with jewels.
Feng said the theft shows that some security facilities inside the museum might "have some problems," adding that the museum will adopt new security equipment and tighten relevant measures.
Feng said the museum has ordered all of its departments to thoroughly search all stockhouses, exhibition halls and security facilities for the missing items, as well as clues to their whereabouts.
Feng also claimed that the photos circulating on the Internet about the theft were not genuine.
At the same news conference, Wang Xiahong, a representative of the Liang Yi Museum, expressed "absolute trust" in the Palace Museum, and said the museum will continue its visiting exhibition in the Beijing-based museum as planned.