Early this week, Border Intelligence Division (BID) officials of the General Authority for Border Protection caught a Mongolian woman at Zamyn-Uud soum auto checkpoint carrying historically significant artifacts and goods with the intent to smuggle them to China. The found artifacts were mostly dedicated to Buddhist religious rites and customs. There were ceramic and brass Buddhist gods, horns, bells, lamp cups and a Bronze Age knife used for religious purposes. A Mongolian traditional knife, tobacco pipe, twin green jade snuff bottles and meteor debris were also found. According to a source within the Authority Against Organized Crimes of Mongolia (AAOCM), border guards themselves might have been conspiring with the smugglers and trying to smuggle the artifacts across the border. The packages with smuggled artifacts were stamped, which indicated that they were checked by border guards. The preliminary investigation revealed that a Chinese man who lives in Mongolia collects all the artifacts and smuggles them through the Mongolian border checkpoint to China with the assistance of the female Mongolian suspect. The total value of the recovered artifacts will be assessed shortly.
BID received an anonymous report about the planned smuggling and apprehended the suspect. The officials were collecting documents related to antique smugglers when they received the report, according to Unuudur Daily Newspaper. According to what law enforcement organizations discovered, Chinese citizens in Mongolia meet and deal with province residents and offer specific amounts of money in return for providing antiques. The Chinese collect information about very rare artifacts all over Mongolia and let Mongolians collect them, reported Unuudur. Legal organizations have also received a report that a gang of plunderers are traveling in the provinces and robbing tombs and burial mounds on the order of Chinese nationals. The collected artifacts are smuggled across the Mongolian border and are mostly sold at antique shops in Erenhot, China. Mongolian artifacts make up over 80 percent of the items for sale at Erenhot antique shops. According to a source within the AAOCM, there are several gangs of Mongolian smugglers, and Chinese people choose the most valuable artifacts from what the Mongolians are selling, like a normal trade. The source also noted that there are specific groups of Mongolians who smuggle the chosen artifacts through the Mongolian checkpoints to China. During interrogations, officials also learned that many valuable sutras and treatises have been smuggled to China. A source from the General Police Department said that the smuggling methods of smugglers are getting more advanced day by day and more difficult to catch. The source commented that the department is trying its very best to combat collusion by police and border guards who are violating their oaths by conspiring with smugglers and giving away rare and valuable cultural artifacts for personal gain. When the investigation and cost assessment is complete, all the detained artifacts will be delivered to museums for display.