'Dumped' HK$28m painting ‘covered by insurance’

Hong Kong auctioneer’s parent company says loss will be ‘compensated properly’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 4:46pm


The parent company of a Hong Kong auction house involved in the loss of a HK$28 million painting that possibly ended up in a landfill site after being dumped by cleaners, has said that damages will be “compensated properly”.

In a statement released from Beijing last night, Poly Culture Group Corporation, said: “The [corporation board] wishes to emphasise that Poly Auction Hong Kong has maintained insurance coverage for the auction items in terms of the administration of auction items at the preview exhibitions and auctions.

“All the damages or loss of auction items within our scope of insurance coverage will be handled and compensated properly in accordance with the related insurance laws and regulations in Hong Kong.”

The group also said it was satisfied the incident would not have a “material adverse impact” on the business and operating results of the auction house.

When contacted by the South China Morning Post today, the group said it was still investigating the incident and refused to make further comment.

The Chinese ink wash painting, Snowy Mountain, by Cui Ruzhuo, went under the hammer for HK$28.75 million in a sale on Monday, held at the Grand Hyatt Hongkong in Wan Chai. It was found to have gone missing after an employee of Poly Auction Hong Kong carried out stocktaking the next day.

A subsequent police investigation indicated the painting had been mistaken as rubbish by cleaners and was dumped, believed to have been buried in a landfill in Tuen Mun.

Poly Auction Hong Kong yesterday told police it would not pursue the matter. The case which was first classified by police as “theft”, was being treated as “lost property”.

Poly Culture operates as a culture and art company in China, where its business also includes performance and theatre management, cinema investment and management, in addition to art business and auction.

A Poly Auction Hong Kong spokesman was unavailable for comment today.