Dai Dinh Communal House in Tam Hung Commune, Thanh Oai District on the western outskirts of Hanoi, where many robberies have taken place in the past few months. Photo hanoimoi.com.vn

Nhat Tan Communal House in Tay Ho District, which is equipped with security cameras, an alarm system and two guards at night, was broken into.

On March 29, burglars broke in the communal house from the roof. Cameras filmed them and the alarm went off. Guards rushed to the house and the burglars fled without any antiques.

Nguyen Van Hiep, who helps take care of the house, said the break-in was a warning for relic sites, which require better security care.

Immediately afterwards, the relic management board installed four more cameras in the house, increasing the total number to nine at the site and one more alarm horn on the roof.

Other sites weren't so lucky, however.

Many burglaries took place between March 13 and April 11. In Thanh Oai District, on the western outskirts of Hanoi, there have been four burglaries in Boi Khe Pagoda, Dai Dinh Communal House, Du Du Pagoda and Tu Chau Pagoda with up to 26 antiques stolen.

In Thuong Tin District, since January, there have been six burglaries at relic sites in five communes.

In Ung Hoa District, since early 2019, burglaries have taken place at Ha Temple, Duong Khe Communal House, Trang Communal House, and Hoang Xa Communal House, in which various ancient objects like royal promotion letters, incense holders and bronze jars were taken away.

In Phu Xuyen District the same problem has happened in the communes of Dai Xuyen and Van Hoang, Tan Dan.

In Chuong My District, thieves snatched a box of royal promotion documents, various ancient documents and cash on March 22.

On January 23, three holy worshipped chairs were stolen from Van Cong Communal House, in Van Con Commune of Hoai Duc District.

“The above-mentioned figures show that burglaries at relic sites have occurred more and more,” said Nguyen Doan Van, head of Hanoi’s Relic Site and Landscape Management Board. “The incidents happened during the social distancing period. Many valuable antiques were lost, which may never be found again.”

There are nearly 6,000 relic sites throughout Hanoi, one of which, Thang Long Imperial Citadel Complex, has been recognised as a world heritage site, 18 national special relic sites, 50 historical relic sites, more than 1,800 communal houses and some 2,000 pagodas, more than 800 of which host many national treasures and valuable antiques.

“Most of the guarding force are retirees or elders who work voluntarily,” he said. “Many relic sites are located far from residential areas, which aids burglars.”

He also said not all relic sites have security cameras and alarm systems.

Authorities in Thanh Oai District have asked concerned agencies to list worship objects and ancient documents at relic sites.

The Thanh Oai People’s Committee has encouraged individuals and organisations to donate to install cameras at relic sites. The body also asked relic sites to enhance locks, alarm systems and work with local police to prevent thefts of worship objects and money donated at relic sites.

The city's culture department has asked the People’s Committee to direct agencies to strictly follow the city’s regulations on protecting and developing relics and landscape sites

To Van Dong, director of the Hanoi culture department, said districts and towns need to support guards at relic sites as well as local police to prevent burglaries.

Last month, the committee sent a document to local agencies to take greater care of guarding relic sites and enhance people’s awareness of the need to protect relics and antiques at the sites. VNS

26 temple antiques in Hanoi stolen in one month

26 temple antiques in Hanoi stolen in one month

There have been 26 antiques stolen from four communal houses and pagodas in Hanoi during the past month.