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China: Around The Nation

Woman in east China ‘steals’ prize orchid worth US$3 million

Precious specimen had been on display at garden centre, but shopper thought it was fair game

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 6:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 6:28pm

A woman caused panic at a garden centre in eastern China recently when instead of leaving with the plant she’d paid for, she walked away with a 20 million yuan (US$3 million) prize orchid, local media reported.

Police were alerted to the incident after the owners of the nursery, in Yucheng, Shandong province, called to say that one of their most precious specimens was missing, news portal Iqilu.com reported on Saturday.

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The new strain of orchid was incredibly rare and had taken eight years to cultivate, an employee was quoted as saying, adding that it was “like a parent plant” from which others could be propagated.

“We have orders totalling 20 million yuan from over 10 countries,” she said. “Without the ‘parent’, we won’t be able to fulfil them and we’ll lose all the money.”

The orchid had been on display at the garden centre when it disappeared, the report said.

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When police traced the woman who’d walked away with it, she was surprised she had caused such a commotion.

She was quoted as saying that after buying an orchid she saw another, which she assumed was from the same group and hence priced the same, and simply did a switch on her way out.

People warned her to be more careful in future but decided no further action was necessary, the report said.

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Last month, a tourist caused panic in a jewellery store in Yunnan province when she accidentally smashed a jade bracelet valued at 300,000 yuan. She was eventually asked to pay 180,000 yuan in compensation.