Taipei, May 7 (CNA) A Chinese tourist allegedly stole a valuable military medal that was on display at historic building in the offshore county of Kinmen, police on the outlying island said Monday.
A Chinese man surnamed Qiao was listed as a suspect after the medal of honor that belonged to the late Hu Lien, commander-in-chief of the Kinmen Defense Command, was found missing May 4 from the Juguang Building, said Pan Hsi-hui, chief of the Chincheng police precinct.
Investigators identified the alleged thief with the help of security camera footage and described him as wearing a red shirt, dark-colored pants and white shoes, Pan said at a news conference. The police have ruled out the possibility that the man was a Taiwanese tourist or a local resident because of the way he was dressed, Pan added.
Investigators also examined video footage from various other locations, including the airport, the port, restaurants, hotels and tourist sites, Pan said. They found that a group of tourists from China had entered the building on the afternoon when the theft occurred, he said.
The suspect, who was with the group, went back into the exhibition hall after the group left, unlocked the cabinet and took out the medal, investigators said after looking at the evidence.
The man later returned to Xiamen, Fujian Province in southeastern China, on a ferry later that day and took a train to Heilongjiang Province the next day, Pan said.
The police were able to obtain three fingerprints at the scene of the crime but have no fingerprint records for the suspect, said Tsai Tsang-po, director-general of the Kinmen police bureau.
The police also said an object in the shape of the medal was found in a backpack of a passenger that boarded a ferry to Xiamen after they examined the videotapes of an X-ray screening device at the port. However, the owner of the backpack is yet to be identified, the police added.
County Magistrate Lee Wo-shi also said at the news conference that he has apologized to Hu's family for the incident and they showed forgiveness and understanding.
The county chief said he will invite experts to review the county government's system of preserving its historic items and re-assess whether it is best to display them publicly.
The "Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon " medal is the second-highest rank of honor conferred on military officers in Taiwan. Hu was one of the 209 recipients in the history of the award.
(By Chen Shou-gow and Kendra Lin)