The Mysterious Chinese Art Heists Across Europe

From “Kento Bento”. ( YouTube / Nebula )

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*Note: The narrative of the implication of the Chinese government was made popular by Alex Palmer of GQ in 2018 (though these suspicions had existed long before).

Channel Description:
Animated documentary-style videos on extraordinary Asian events.

Kento Bento — Research, script, narration, music, video editing, motion graphics, illustration storyboard
Charlie Rodriguez — Illustration
Isambard Dexter — Research


The Mysterious Chinese Art Heists Across Europe

Stockholm, Sweden. 2010. Passersby on the streets of the capital were confused and scared. Several cars in and around the vicinity had lit up in flames, and no one had any idea why. Police soon arrived on scene but they too were baffled with what they saw.

Now, several kilometers to the west, on the outskirts of the city, a small group of masked men made their way across the grounds of the Drottningholm Palace (the private residence of the Swedish Royal Family, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Their target was the royal pavilion situated in the southern part of the complex, which displayed countless works of historic art.

Once there, the men forced their way in through the backdoors, and went right to work. They smashed the protective display cases, and grabbed whatever items they wanted. This immediately set off the alarm system, which alerted the Swedish police.

Now, despite the alarm, the robbers remained calm, because they knew exactly where the police were. The burning cars were in fact a distraction for them set up by the robbers, and they had fallen right into the trap. Still, the police raced towards the crime scene, but by the time they reached the royal pavilion, the place was empty (the robbers were in and out in less than six minutes).

Upon inspection, sculptures, chalices, plates and teapots – all invaluable items – were now missing from the permanent state collection of art and antiquities; and this wasn’t just a huge economic loss, but a cultural one as well.

It was later found out that after fleeing the pavilion on mopeds, the robbers made their way to a nearby lake where they were then picked up by a white speedboat. Though from this point, the trail went cold…