Hong Kong's art community was rocked by the theft that included a two-meter tall scroll containing a 1929 Politburo report written by Mao Zedong valued at hundreds of millions of dollars -- but was sold to an amateur collector for just HK$200.

When police recovered the parchment a month after it was stolen, they discovered it had been cut in half to make it easier to store by the collector, who also did not realize it was genuine.

The items were lifted in September 2020 from an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao, dubbed "Red Collector," in the city's bustling Kowloon district.

The haul was worth an estimated total of HK$5 billion (US$637 million), with Mao's scroll alone valued at HK$2.3 billion, making it the city's biggest heist by value.

Construction workers Ng Wing-lun, 45, and Ho Yik-chiu, 46, were jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to burglary. As for jobless Hui Ping-kei, 48, he was jailed for 28 months for dealing with crime proceeds.

The District Court heard how the three men were seasoned burglars who had deliberately targeted Fu's apartment while he was overseas.

Much of the haul has yet to be recovered.

A collector who received some of the goods alerted the police once he realized the items were stolen.