China sentences to death 4 robbers of old tombs

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China has sentenced to death four robbers who used explosives and heavy machinery to plunder tombs almost 2,500 years old.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency says the four sentenced Friday were part of a 27-member gang who robbed a dozen tombs near the capital of the central province of Hunan in 2008 and 2009.

The report says some of the more than 200 stolen artifacts were under China's highest level of protection. One of the tombs dates from the Warring States period that began in 475 B.C.

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