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UK Police Recover Stolen Ming Dynasty Vase Worth $3 Million

Αssociated Press

This undated handout photo provided by the Metropolitan Police shows a stolen 15th century Chinese Ming Dynasty vase which has been recovered by the Metropolitan Police during a Specialist Crime operation. (Metropolitan Police via AP)

LONDON — British police say they have recovered a 15th-century Chinese vase valued at 2.5 million pounds ($3.3 million) that was stolen in Switzerland last year.

The Metropolitan Police force said Friday that they have arrested two men over the theft of the Ming dynasty vase. It is thought to have been stolen from a Swiss collection in June 2019 by a London-based organized crime gang.

The suspects, aged 44 and 42, were arrested in London's tony Mayfair area last week on suspicion of handling stolen goods. They have been released on bail until mid-November.

"This is a significant step forward in what remains a complex investigation into a high-value burglary," said Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele of the force's specialist crime unit.

There is a lucrative illegal market for stolen Chinese antiquities, and there have been several high-profile thefts in recent years, including a string of heists at British museums and auction houses in 2012 that netted jade bowls, figurines and other items worth millions.

British police said the vase will be returned to Switzerland.