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  1. #1
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Pikey gang leaders convicted of stealing 57m of rhino horn and Chinese artefacts

    It can now be reported for the first time that senior planners from the brutal organisation were among 14 people convicted.


    One of the four rhinoceros heads worth about 428,000 each which has been stolen from museum storage in Ireland.

    Senior leaders of a prolific international gang of rhino-horn thieves known as the Rathkeale Pikey Rovers have been convicted of museum raids that netted 57m. The convictions represent a major police success against a brutal criminal organisation.

    Key planners from the gang – blamed for dozens of burglaries across Europe dating back to 2009 – were convicted of two smash-and-grab raids in Britain within eight days. These targeted Chinese antiquities and each landed bigger hauls than the 14m Hatton Garden safety deposit heist.



    The convictions of six members of one family deal a significant blow to the Irish Pikey Traveller gang whose criminality led to a pan-European police operation and sparked demands for action from the top of the UK Government.

    The raids included two at Durham’s Oriental Museum and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge: Chinese antiquities worth up to 57m were stolen. Two-thirds of the haul has never been recovered and is believed to have been shipped out of the country to Far Eastern buyers.

    “If you think the Hatton Garden break-in was big, this will blow that out of the water,” said Detective Superintendent Adrian Green, who led the investigation. “Because of the variations which can be given by auction houses the total value of the items targeted comes to anywhere between 18m and 57m. This illustrates just how massively profitable this trade was.”


    The scene of the robbery at Durham University's Oriental Museum, where two items where stolen.

    The gang, with strong links to the Irish town in Co Limerick from which it takes its name, has been linked to museum or auction house raids in at least 16 nations across Europe, rhino poaching in Southern Africa, and attempts to smuggle horn from the United States. At least eight of those convicted had links to the town.

    Rhino horn can bring a higher profit than gold or cocaine, fuelled by strong demand from countries such as Vietnam and China, where it is prized for its supposed medicinal qualities. It has been known to command prices of around 45,000 a kilo. Investigators estimate nearly 100 rhino horns were stolen in just a few years to 2013.

    The gang’s senior members – said to be from a small group of families from the nomadic community – escaped detection by remaining in the shadows while paying career criminals and the vulnerable to carry out the raids, and ensuring their silence with at times brutal violence.

    Members of the extended Irish “Kerry” O’Brien family were identified through telephone data during a series of panicked calls after their hired hands “lost” a 16m haul from the Durham Oriental Museum in April 2012. After failing to find the antiquities that they stashed on waste ground on the outskirts of Durham, the gang stole 18 precious items from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge just over a week later to fulfil an order for a jade bowl for a Far Eastern buyer. Those items, worth up to 40m, have never been recovered.



    Dr Noah Charney, the founder of the Association of Research into Crimes against Art, said: “Theft on commission is largely a fictional concept – but it’s an exception when dealing with the Far East and China in particular.”

    Along with the senior leadership, a Hong Kong middle-man, Chi Chong Donald Wong, who garnered orders for Far Eastern customers, and a raft of low-level criminals have also been found guilty after three trials that could not be reported until now for legal reasons. The convictions represent a rare series of victories against the gang, also believed to have been involved in fraud, fake goods, drug smuggling and violence.

    With the world’s rhino population cut by 90 per cent since the 1970s, the gang focused on dead creatures in museums, which for years had failed to understand the value of their stocks before beefing up security in response to the raids. “They are a bit like banks where people can come in and touch the money,” said Supt Green.
    Rathkeale Rovers gang leaders convicted of 57m plot to steal rhino horn and Chinese artefacts | Crime | News | The Independent

  2. #2
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post


    Reminds me of the front bench of the Labour party or the council of EU commissioners.

  3. #3
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    Reminds Me of ISIS looters of ancient antiquities in Syria...

  4. #4
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    Handsome bunch

  5. #5
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    Feck i'm going for a lie-down written on their faces.

    Wouldn't want to meet any of them in a dark alley.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukey1979 View Post
    Handsome bunch
    The one at the top left is blowing kisses at you!!

  7. #7
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    They stole Rhino horn in Ireland, remember that TD member Rick , he had a rhino head mounted on his wall from When he shot it in Africa. We don't get characters like that on here any more.

  8. #8
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Rickthai was the biggest bullshitter going

  9. #9
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    Listening to LBC in the week

    Nearly all the houses in the area of their home town are mortgage free

    And the crime rate is zero.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainNemo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post


    Reminds me of the front bench of the Labour party or the council of EU commissioners.
    Yer man third on the top is a quare-lookin' knacker!

  11. #11
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    The problem with dealing with Irish crime is twofold: the Garda are incompetent buffoons and the Irish government are generally congenital idiots who appease terrorists and crooks alike.

    The drug empire run by the Irish gangs is really an affront to Euro policing and symptomatic of the spastic nature of Irish law enforcement.

    I suppose it resolves to the comparatively recent state of governance whereby most paddy politicians were either thugs or criminals themselves.

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