HONG KONG : A stolen poetry scroll written by Mao Zedong and valued at hundreds of millions of dollars has been recovered, Hong Kong police said Wednesday - but not before it was cut in half.

Officers said someone handling the thieved artefact had given it the chop after judging it ''difficult to display''.

The calligraphy scroll - worth an estimated US$300 million - was the most valuable item taken in a brazen robbery last month targeting the Hong Kong apartment of Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao.

The gang of three made off with a hoard of treasures worth, according to Fu, an estimated HK$ 5billion ($645 nillion) that included antique stamps and revolutionary itels from mainland China in what is believed to be the city's biggest heist by value.

On Wednesday, police announced they had recovered the Mao scroll and two bronxe coins. But the scroll had suffered devastating damage.

''Someone claimed that [ the scroll ] was too difficult to display because it was too long so it was cut in half,'' Senior Superintendent Tony Ho told reporters. [AFP].


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