PENANG: The century-old bronze bell from Thnee Kong Thnuah (Jade Emperor Temple) was found abandoned near another temple less than 12 hours after it was reported stolen.
Police found the bell behind the Meow Hong Lim Buddhist Temple in Hill Railway Road yesterday after it was reported stolen by the Kong Hock Keong Board of Trustees of the Jade Emperor Temple located at the foot of Penang Hill.
The board had reported to the police earlier in the morning that the bell together with two pairs of candle stands and 10 bronze urns were missing from the temple which is currently undergoing restoration.
Cheah Phee Guan, the board's honorary secretary, said a construction worker noticed the bell and other items missing when he started work at 7.30am.
He said the bell, which was 0.6m high and weighed between 50kg and 60kg, was placed on the ground near the main entrance of the temple’s lower annex to facilitate the restoration work.
“The bell was placed together with two other century-old alloy bells which are bigger,” he said, adding that the bells and urns were engraved with the Jade Emperor Temple’s previous name, Teong Kheng Tien.
Cheah said the thieves also tried to steal a bamboo blind which was rolled up and placed against the lower annex wall, as it was later found near the temple's main entrance.
“Construction tools and various prayer paraphernalia have gone missing from the temple occasionally since the restoration project started in April 2001.
“About a month ago, some paint and two electrical saws were stolen,” he said, adding that the RM4mil restoration project was expected to be completed at the end of the year.
The Jade Emperor Temple is a focal point of activity during the Jade Emperor God’s birthday on the ninth day of the Chinese New Year, with thousands of devotees thronging the temple to offer prayers.