Temples in Taiwan upgrading security after thieves steal deities, try to mail them to China

Deity figures were stolen from Chishan Longhu Temple in Tainan

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Chishan Longhu Temple in Tainan

Chishan Longhu Temple in Tainan (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Temples throughout Taiwan may be looking to upgrade security systems to protect the deities housed within them after recent events in Tainan.

This week there was an incident that occurred at Chishan Longhu Temple near Chishan Rock Lake, where two deity figures were stolen from the temple by guests purporting to be faithful worshipers.

The thieves successfully stole the figures from the temple and subsequently took them to a post office with the intent to mail them to China, according to the report at TaiwanHot.net.

People managing the temple quickly recognized the missing deity figures and alerted the local police. The post office was also alerted, and able to locate and arrest the suspects before the figures were mailed. The idols were fortunately returned to the temple.

Despite the quick resolution to the theft, the incident has actually raised more questions, because it appears that the suspects knew exactly what they were looking for and that a network was prepared to receive the shipment in China.

Considering the possible implications,  temples throughout in Tainan (and likely around Taiwan) have decided that it is time to upgrade temple security in order to protect the deities and the figures within the temples.

In addition to installing security cameras to monitor the interior and exterior of temples, many are also considering installing GPS tracking devices in the important and priceless deity figures.

Deity figures at a temple in Pingxi, of similar size to those stolen in Tainan (Iamge: Wikimedia Commons)