Police caught six tomb raiders who learned fengshui and used it to locate and loot tombs in the central Chinese provinces of Hubei and Hunan, authorities said Friday.
The "master tomb raider", identified only as Ye, was able to look at a site and determine the best place to dig by applying fengshui, a traditional Chinese study of geomantic omens used to find auspicious locations for buildings and cemeteries.
Ye, 44, was once sentenced to 10 years in prison for theft and robbery. He learned knowledge of fengshui in prison, where one of the inmates told him raiding tombs was profitable.
After he was released from prison he purchased tools online, such as a Luoyang shovel, and organized a tomb-raiding group.
The police investigation started in May when they received information that people had raided a Chu State tomb from China's Warring States Period (475 to 221 B.C.).
The police then targeted a six-man raiding group. By September, the suspects were caught by police.
According to Wuhan police, they seized and retrieved six cultural relics, including a bronze mirror with a diameter of 50 centimeters, the largest mirror ever unearthed in the city.
The police said that the tomb raiders had looted three tombs in Hubei, but did not disclose how many tombs they had raided in neighboring Hunan, with the investigation ongoing.
Chinese tomb raiders can make good money, as wealthy people in China used to be buried with treasure such as gold, silverware and jade in the hope of enjoying an affluent afterlife.