Written by Staff Writer at CNN
A meteorite — last seen in the region of Cam Fong, Vietnam, close to the Cambodian border — was seized by Chinese customs last week.
The seizure occurred on October 10 in Lianjian town in the capital of Jiangsu Province. The meteorite, dubbed “Fountain of Life,” was reportedly worth $7.8 million on the grey market.
Chinese customs documents.
The Chinese government has traditionally carefully monitored the internal flight of precious minerals.
In the past 20 years, China has become a “world leader” in smuggled minerals and meteorites, according to the New York Times. Since 2010, the country has returned to control the entry of meteorites and minerals , according to the paper.
Investigating the “Fountain of Life”
The incident involving the “Fountain of Life” comes after Chinese customs intensified their role in border control in 2018, according to the Star Bulletin , a leading news outlet for customs-related news.
The publication stated that China’s southern Hainan island has emerged as the “new gold coast,” as it plays host to an estimated five million rare gems, most of which originate from Sichuan province.
Also on the island are crystal formations that are said to be among the greatest human-made creations.
New police station opened in Sichuan, China , to investigate rare minerals for smuggled trade. Credit: SHANGHAI PICS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
While the value of the “Fountain of Life” could potentially be recovered, according to state-run tabloid Global Times , it is worth remembering that such capture is rare.
In 2016, China failed to return a 19.75 meter meteorite to South Korea, which was discovered in 1954 on Mount Baekdu by a Korean gem and trading company, according to the outlet.
The company that had bought the meteorite in 1952, which had been exhibited in South Korea several times, bought the rock back in 2014 and returned it to South Korea, according to Global Times.
Other rare sights from around the world include the Ark of the Covenant, which was found in Myanmar and which belongs to Israel.
The legend of the Ark of the Covenant, as re-enacted in Israel, shows the relic was used in the founding of the Jewish nation. Credit: HT NEWS/AP/REX/Shutterstock
The legend of the “Ark of the Covenant” dates back to the time of the early Christian religion. The artifact was used in the founding of the Jewish nation, and those that found it claim that God has blessed them with it.
As of last year, Iranian police seized a meteorite worth around $30 million and delivered it to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as part of the efforts to police illegal importations.