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Smugglers arrested for stealing sacred trees!

The Buddhist pine trees are believed to bring good luck and to have magical healing powers. The trees are a symbol of wealth among the Chinese.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2005 18:19 IST

Two Chinese smugglers have been arrested in Hong Kongfor stealing "sacred trees", believed to have mystical healing powers, police said on Wednesday.

The men were arrested after a high-speed boat chase with Buddhist pine trees on board, which were stolen from hillsides in Hong Kong's rural New Territories district, a police spokesman said.

The trees are believed to bring good luck and to have magical healing powers and sell to wealthy Chinese families for up to around $1,300each.

Police in Hong Kong have arrested a succession of smugglers in the past two years who sneaked into the territory by boat and camp out on rural hillsides to harvest the precious trees.

More than 30 smugglers, all from neighbouring China, have been arrested in the past year in a police drive to crack down on the theft of the trees.

Two men aged 30 and 35, both from Guizhou province in China's southwest, were in police custody Wednesday after being arrested Monday for smuggling and illegal immigration.

They may also face charges of endangering life at sea after the high-speed chase before their arrest, the police spokesman said.

First Published: Dec 28, 2005 16:06 IST