Miri grave robbers desecrate new, old coffins

MIRI: Catholic parishioners in Miri have uncovered a desecration of numerous tombs in cemeteries, with coffins damaged and skulls and bones dismembered.

Some skulls have even gone missing from these desecrated graves, The Star was told on Saturday (July 18).

Contractors assigned to carry out burials by the Miri St Joseph Cathedral Parish Office have lodged police reports about these recent cases at the Riam Cemetery.

A contractor told this reporter that he was particularly disturbed by the increasingly gruesome nature of the acts committed by the grave robbers.

"The tomb-raiders in the past usually break into coffins to steal personal items like jewellery, watches and rings that were buried with the dead.

"They usually leave the human remains untouched.

"However, there are now cases where not only are the valuables looted, but even the skeletal remains are desecrated, with skulls and bones dismembered.

"We have found some coffins that were broken into where the skull is missing," said a worker assigned to handle burial tasks.

Pictures taken from the gravesite along Riam Road in the outskirts of Miri city showed that newly-buried coffins, as well as old ones, were desecrated.

There was one newly-tiled and cemented tomb that was broken into where a blood-stained cloth with human remains were found placed on top of the tiles.

A hammer was found nearby.

The Star have forwarded pictures of the desecrated tombs to Miri police chief Asst Comm Lim Meng Seah and have tried to contact him for comments.

However, he could not be reached as at press time.

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