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Hong Kong burglar steals £400MILLION worth of valuables including calligraphy by Chairman Mao

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hong kong burglar steals 400million worth of valuables including calligraphy by chairman mao

A brazen Hong Kong burglar made off with a collection of stamps and calligraphy worth a reported £400million in a daylight heist, a police source said Wednesday.

The thief struck an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city’s bustling Kowloon district and took just two hours to steal the staggering haul, the source told AFP.

The stolen goods were worth HK$4 billion (£398 million) and included calligraphy by Chairman Mao Zedong, five extremely valuable antique stamps and revolutionary items from mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post.

The thief struck an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city's bustling Kowloon district. The thief walked into the 16-storey residential building, forced open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment before dashing off

The thief struck an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city's bustling Kowloon district. The thief walked into the 16-storey residential building, forced open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment before dashing off

The thief struck an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city’s bustling Kowloon district. The thief walked into the 16-storey residential building, forced open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment before dashing off

Fu, a member of the Hong Kong Philatelic Society, was in mainland China at the time of the burglary on Thursday September 10, said the police source, who asked not to be named.

He currently lives on the mainland but has used the flat for storage.

The thief walked into the 16-storey residential building, forced open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment, before making off via the same route with the goods.

The SCMP cited a source who said the value of the stolen items emerged after Fu’s daughter arrived in Hong Kong to help the police probe. 

The stolen goods were worth HK$4 billion (£398 million) and included calligraphy by Chairman Mao Zedong (pictured), five extremely valuable antique stamps and revolutionary items from mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post

The stolen goods were worth HK$4 billion (£398 million) and included calligraphy by Chairman Mao Zedong (pictured), five extremely valuable antique stamps and revolutionary items from mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post

The stolen goods were worth HK$4 billion (£398 million) and included calligraphy by Chairman Mao Zedong (pictured), five extremely valuable antique stamps and revolutionary items from mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post

The valuable goods were taken from a locked drawer in the apartment, the source told the newspaper.

The source also suggested that there might have been two burglars involved while police were hunting for the suspects who were captured on CCTV footage as they left the building.

A third police source reportedly said the break-in did not appear to be ‘the work of professional burglars’. 

He told the newspaper: ‘It was possible the burglars had information that the occupant was not in town and that his flat stored the expensive items.’

The reported heist in Hong Kong is four times bigger than what prosecutors called ‘Britain’s largest burglary in legal history’ – the Hatton Garden heist in 2015.

The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden area, was burgled in April 2015. 

The total stolen jewels have a value of up to £13.6million. 

The greatest heists of 21st century

Graff Diamonds, £40m, 2009 

The Graff Diamonds heist remains Britain’s biggest jewellery raid and is among one of the smartest in history. 

At 4.40pm on August 6, 2009, two sharply dressed men posing as customers entered the premises of Graff Diamonds in New Bond Street, London and stole jewellery worth nearly £40 million.

They used a professional make-up artist to disguise their appearances and a series of getaway cars to escape across the capital.

The robbers were caught shortly after police searched one of the getaway cars abandoned by the robbers. A pay-as-you go mobile phone was discovered that robbers Aman Kassaye and Craig Calderwood left in the car after ramming into a black cab. 

After the collision, in their haste to transfer to a second vehicle, the robbers forgot the mobile phone that was wedged between the driver’s seat and the handbrake. Anonymous numbers stored on the mobile phone quickly allowed police to discover the identity of the robber. 

Banco Central, £55m, 2005 

Considered to be one of the world’s largest ever heists, the Banco Central burglary was carried out by a small gang who tunneled 250 feet into the bank’s vault. 

On Saturday, August 6 of 2005, a gang of burglars tunnelled into the bank and removed five containers of 50-notes. 

They rented out a nearby property and disguised it as a landscape business, which allowed them to move large amounts of dirt and rock without suspicion. 

The tunnel took three months to construct and contained a sophisticated lighting system and even air conditioning. 

The money was uninsured, a bank spokesperson stating that the risks were too small to justify the insurance premiums. 

The burglars managed to evade or disable the bank’s internal alarms and sensors, and the burglary remained undiscovered until the bank opened for business the following Monday.

Hatton Garden, £14m, 2015 

While smaller in scale than other heists on the list, the Hatton Garden robbery had all the ingredients of an old-school criminal caper.

The burglars worked through the four-day weekend of the Easter Bank Holiday, when many of the nearby businesses (many of them also connected with Hatton Garden’s jewellery trade) were closed. 

There was no externally visible sign of a forced entry to the premises. It was reported that the burglars had entered the premises through a lift shaft, then drilled through the 50-centimetre (20-inch) thick vault walls with a Hilti DD350 industrial power drill.   

The daring feat captured the public’s imagination, tapping into a romanticised view of a traditional bank heist.

The case received even greater attention when it was revealed it had been orchestrated by four pensioners.

The robbery was later turned into a film starring Matthew Goode and Joely Richardson.

Central Bank of Iraq, £620m, 2003 

This is considered the largest bank heist in history and one of the most contentious. In March 2003, just days before the US invasion of Iraq, the country’s dictator Saddam Hussein siphoned nearly $1bn from the Central Bank. 

In a hand-written note, discovered a few years later, the Iraqi president had ordered the bank to give $920m (£560m at the time) and $100m (£60m) worth of euros to his son Qusay. Bank officials said Qusay personally oversaw the boxes of $100 bills loaded into trucks during a five-hour operation.

Approximately $650m, possibly part of the hoard, was later found hidden in the walls his palace. Qusay was killed by US troops in a firefight in July 2003 and less than half of the money was ever recovered.

Source: The Week 

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Rihanna’s father Ronald Fenty says Barbados should have removed Queen as head of state in 1966

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rihannas father ronald fenty says barbados should have removed queen as head of state in 1966

The father of singer Rihanna has said that Barbados should have removed the Queen as a head of state as the country reveals it will become a republic.

Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state ‘when we declared independence in 1966’.

He told The Times that he can see ‘British people being hurt by the decision’ but that Barbados will ‘still be part of the Commonwealth’.   

Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November, 2021.  

Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state 'when we declared independence in 1966'

Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state 'when we declared independence in 1966'

Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state ‘when we declared independence in 1966’

The decision to replace the Queen as head of state is dividing the conservative nation

The decision to replace the Queen as head of state is dividing the conservative nation

The decision to replace the Queen as head of state is dividing the conservative nation 

It was the Queen’s representative, governor-general Dame Sandra Mason, 71, who announced on Wednesday that ‘the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind’. 

She added that ‘Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state’.       

Prime Minister Mia Mottley wrote a speech quoting the Caribbean island nation’s first premier Errol Barrow’s warning against ‘loitering on colonial premises’.

Ms Mottley came to power two years ago with a programme that included a ‘reassessment’ of relations with the United Kingdom.  

The decision to replace the Queen as head of state follows the decriminalisation of cannabis and the removal of Bridgetown’s statue of Horatio Nelson in dividing this conservative nation. 

Buckingham Palace has said Barbados’ intention to remove the Queen as head of state and become a republic is a ‘matter’ for the Caribbean nation.  

The Queen pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

The Queen pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

The Queen pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977

The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977

The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977 

Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019

Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019

Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019 

Reading the speech, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said: ‘The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State. 

‘This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

‘Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.’

Asked to comment on the Commonwealth country’s plans a palace spokesman said: ‘This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.’

Downing Street said it was a ‘decision for Barbados and the Government there’ but that Britain would continue to ‘enjoy a partnership’ with the Caribbean island nation as members of the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977

Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977

Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean

Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean

Left, Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977. Right, Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown

A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘We obviously have a shared history and remain united with Barbados in terms of history, culture and language, and we will continue to have and enjoy a partnership with them as members of the Commonwealth.’

The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch.

In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said ‘we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future’.

Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.

Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966 

Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.

Barbados took another step towards independence from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur promoted the idea of a referendum on becoming a republic in 2005, however the vote was called off due to concerns raised by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Barbados: The country’s colonial history 

The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost

The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost

The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost 

Barbados was one of the oldest English settlements in the West Indies, being surpassed only by Saint Kitts. 

The countries’ historical ties date back to the 17th century and involve settlement, post-colonialism and modern bilateral relations. 

Since Barbados gained its independence in 1966, the nations have continued to share ties through the Commonwealth, with the Queen as Monarch. 

The Barbadian Parliament is the third oldest in the entire Commonwealth and the island continues to practice the Westminster style of government.

Many of the historic Anglican churches and plantation houses across the island show the influence of English architecture. 

In 1627, 80 Englishmen aboard the William and John landed on the Caribbean island and founded Jamestown (close to today’s Holetown), in the name of King James I.

The early settlers struggled to develop a profitable export crop and faced difficulties in maintaining supplies from Europe.

However, the Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative and over the next decade more than two thirds of English emigres to the Americas went to Barbados. 

But while this shift to sugar yielded huge profits, it came at a great social cost. Thousands of West African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic to work the plantations and workers suffered from low wages and minimal social services. 

It is estimated that between 1627 to 1807, some 387,000 Africans were shipped to the island against their will and the country shifted from having a majority white population to a majority black population. 

On 28th August 1833, the British Government passed the Slavery Abolition Act, and slaves across the British empire were granted emancipation. 

Barbados remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961. 

The country became fully independent on November 30, 1966, during a time when the country’s economy was expanding and diversifying. 

Since then, the Barbadian Parliament has remained a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, which is modeled on the British Westminster system of government. 

In 2008, British exports to Barbados stood at £38 million, making it Britain’s fourth-largest export market in the region.  

In recent years a growing number of British nationals have been relocating to Barbados to live, with polls showing that British nationals make up 75–85 per cent of the Barbados second home market.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have arrived at Westminster Abbey in London for the annual Sunday service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Mr Johnson, along with Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, will give a reading at the venue’s first major service since March. 

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Stirrup representing the Prince of Wales and U.S. ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, are also among those attending.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, right, have arrived at Westminster Abbey in London for the annual Sunday service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

Chairs for around 79 invited guests, who are all wearing masks, have been placed at the transepts of the church close to the altar.

Each chair has been spaced two metres apart to allow social distancing, with protective plastic screens separating the north and south transepts.

The annual Sunday service usually attracts around 2,000 people to the London landmark as the UK commemorates the first battle in history fought entirely in the air during the Second World War.

However, this Sunday’s event will see attendance significantly reduced and social-distancing measures in place – with the abbey vowing the service will be ‘reduced in stature but not in spirit’.

A spokesperson said: ‘The Abbey is a very large church, it usually holds 2,200, so the guests will be easily spaced out to conform with social distancing.’

Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to Britain arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the "Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain", today

Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to Britain arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the "Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain", today

Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to Britain arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the ‘Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain’, today

A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

It is the first major service to take place at Westminster Abbey since the Commonwealth Day service held earlier this year on March 9, two weeks before the UK went into lockdown in response to the pandemic.

The 11am service led by Dr David Hoyle – the Dean of Westminster Abbey, includes an act of remembrance, during which the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour bearing the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrew killed or mortally wounded in the battle will be borne through the church.

This will be followed by a procession of flags, readings, prayers and music – with a flypast over Westminster Abbey planned at the end of the service.

The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought in the skies over the UK in 1940, and although the battle took place between July and October, September 15 saw the British Royal Air Force (RAF) gain a decisive victory over the Luftwaffe in what was Nazi Germany’s largest daylight attack.

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Girl, 14, dies after being hit by a car as two men, aged 18 and 19, are arrested

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girl 14 dies after being hit by a car as two men aged 18 and 19 are arrested

A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night. 

Merseyside Police said two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after the crash in St Helens. 

Officers were called to a report of a collision involving a car and a pedestrian on Blackbrook Road around 9.50pm. 

A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night and two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night and two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night and two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

A force spokesman said: ‘Emergency services attended and the pedestrian, a 14-year-old girl, was taken to hospital where she sadly died. 

‘Her family have been informed and are being supported at this time.’  

Officers urged anyone who witnessed the incident or had any information, CCTV or dashcam footage to contact police on 101 quoting ref 20000569277, call the Roads Policing Unit on 0151 777 5747 or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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