x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Two arrested over bid to sell '500BC' statues

Two arrested after trying to sell replicas of historical artefacts for Dh2.3 million.

ABU DHABI // A cook and a labourer have been arrested after trying to sell replicas of historical artefacts for Dh2.3 million, police revealed yesterday.

The two fake items are copies of two small black stone statues that date back to 500BC.

After the replicas were tested, they turned out to be fake, according to Brig Gen Hammad al Hammadi, manager of the police CID.

Col Dr Rashid Bursheed, the head of organised crime at CID, said police received information that the cook, MS, 55, and his partner, a labourer, AA, 41, both Arabs, were offering the two artefacts for sale for Dh4m.

"A police officer posed as a customer, and when it was time for conducting the deal, police caught the accused red-handed," he explained.

The undercover agent negotiated with MS to purchase the two statues for Dh2.3 million.

MS confessed that he intended to sell the items, which he took from the belongings of a former colleague who had died while he was away in his homeland. MS also told police he was planning to give the revenue from the sale of the items to his former colleague's widow.

AA said he helped in the deal as the friend of MS, in exchange for receiving a commission after the sale had been made.

The items have been confiscated to prevent any further trade.

hdajani@thenational.ae