Peking University is in hot water again after more than 5,000 ancient books belonging to late linguist Ji Xianlin were taken from his former residence on campus. Ji Cheng, Ji's son, said yesterday that the theft apparently occurred between noon on Tuesday and noon on Wednesday when the place was left unattended as the housekeeper he had hired to look after the house was out. Ji has been looking for a permanent place to house the relics after his father died in July at the age of 97. Ji Xianlin, scholar of ancient languages and writer, was referred to in the media as a 'national treasure', as he dedicated much of his life to studying linguistics. He wrote a huge collection of works on literature, culture and the arts. Fluent in 12 languages, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the government in 2006 for his contributions to the field of translation. His son said that when he arrived at the residence at lunchtime on Wednesday, many belongings, including several bronze busts of his late father and one Buddhist sculpture nearly 1.5 metres tall, were missing. The estimated value was 1 million yuan (HK$1.13 million). A living room window had been broken. Everything had been intact when Ji left the residence on Tuesday, he said. He alerted university authorities and police in Haidian district, in which the university is located, but calls to a university spokesman and the police went unanswered yesterday. Ji suspected it might not be a simple theft as it would have involved many people and it would be almost impossible to get such a large volume of items past university security. 'I was very angry,' he said. 'How could people do such a thing in broad daylight?' Ji has been feuding with Peking University since media reported that he had accused an assistant appointed by the university of stealing some his father's collected items to sell. A buyer named Zhang Heng reportedly discovered 16 works from Ji Xianlin's collection at an auction in April 2007 and bought 14, which he confirmed were authentic. On October 29 last year, Xinhua reporter Tang Shizeng, one of the scholar's former students, wrote in his blog that some of Ji's paintings had been put up for auction over the past two or three years without authorisation. Supported by his father's former students, including Shanghai Fudan University professor Qian Wenzhong , Ji has been battling Peking University over the ownership of a vast collection belonging to his father. The father and son had not spoken to each other for 13 years until last year, but Ji said he was authorised by his father last December to take care of his collection. He also accused the university of trying to prevent him seeing his father. The university has denied all allegations by the son.