Missing painting sold in HK for $4.7 million may have gone out with the trash

Poly Auction staff could not find the Chinese ink painting Snowy Mountain yesterday, and police suspected that the painting had been placed on the floor, and someone on patrol mistakenly kicked it next to a heap of garbage nearby, says the report. --
Poly Auction staff could not find the Chinese ink painting Snowy Mountain yesterday, and police suspected that the painting had been placed on the floor, and someone on patrol mistakenly kicked it next to a heap of garbage nearby, says the report. -- PHOTO: WEBSITE OF POLY AUCTION

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A painting that was auctioned for HK$28.8 million (S$4.7 million) two days ago has gone missing, the police said, with media reports on Wednesday suggesting cleaners may have inadvertently thrown the artwork out.

The 2012 painting Snowy Mountain, by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo, was reported missing by Chinese auctioneers Poly Auction on Tuesday afternoon after the auction on Monday, police told Reuters.

Ming Pao newspaper reported that police had checked CCTV footage at the Grand Hyatt hotel, where the auction took place, which showed cleaners removing the painting. That raised fears that the painting had been sent out with the garbage to the city's landfill.

Poly Auction Hong Kong was not immediately available for comment. The police could not confirm the media report about the painting being thrown out.

Ms Gladis Young, director of communications at the Grand Hyatt hotel, said hotel staff were not involved because organisers of events involving valuable items usually hired external staff to deal with security and handling goods.

On Tuesday, a rare Ming Dynasty "chicken cup" broke world auction records for Chinese porcelain after it sold for HK$281.2 million at a Sotheby's sale in Hong Kong, exceeding the US$32.4 million (S$40.6 million) paid for a Qing double-gourd vase in 2010.