An Australian museum worker who stole thousands of exhibits, including a stuffed lion and a rare dolphin skeleton, was jailed for seven years on April 20.
A Sydney court was told Henk van Leeuwen stole exhibits while working for the Australian Museum from 1996 to 2003 as a pest controller and skeleton moulder.
Anti-corruption officers raided the homes of van Leeuwen and two of his associates in 2003, finding more than 2,000 items from Australia's oldest natural history museum hidden in sheds, fridges and freezers.
They included a stuffed lion acquired by the museum in 1911, the skeletal remains of a Ganges River dolphin, leopard and jaguar skins, as well as numerous skulls, skeletons and animal specimens preserved in formaldehyde.
An earlier court hearing was told the combined value of the hoard totalled AU$1million (NT$27.5 million), with the lion alone worth AU$50,000 (NT$1.3 million).
Van Leeuwen, 50, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of stealing.
Judge Peter Berman rejected van Leeuwen's defense that he took the items because he wanted to protect them.
Berman sentenced him to seven years jail with a five-year non-parole period, saying he had done "enormous, incalculable harm through his criminal activities".
"Many of the exhibits are unique and irreplaceable," the judge said.
"Through his selfish actions he has cost the Australian Museum not only a great deal of money but damaged its reputation and, perhaps most importantly of all, caused permanent harm to the ability of scientists to study many aspects of the natural history of Australia and the rest of the world." (AFP)
1. exhibit n.
展示會 (zhan3 shi4 hui4)
例: The Metropolitan Museum has an exhibit this month showing Egyptian mummies.
2. acquire v.t.
取得 (qu3 de2)
例: We will attempt to acquire the items you wish to import, but I'm not sure we can get them all.
3. formaldehyde n.
甲醇 (jia3 chun2)
例: Formaldehyde is used to preserve a corpse before a funeral.
4. incalculable adj.
不可估算的 (bu4 ke3 gu1 suan4 de5)
例: The value of these jewels is incalculable, so we need the guards here to be extra careful.
SAY WHAT? 說說看
In this article, raid means "a surprise entry into a place by police." Police often carry out raids when they have some proof a suspect is guilty of a crime but need more evidence to be certain. More generally, a raid is a surprise attack by armed forces. "The five men on horseback raided the village, setting some houses on fire."
Raid comes from the same root word as both "road" and "ride" — a raiding party was likely to be riding horses along a road.
OUT LOUD 對話練習
Adam: I went to the science museum last weekend.
Mike: Did you see anything cool?
Adam: Yeah, there's an exhibit in town showing different organs, including a solid black lung from a smoker.
Mike: Gross, that's disgusting! Why would anyone want to see that?
Adam: It's educational even if it doesn't make your mouth water.
make one's mouth water 口水直流
If something makes your mouth water, then you expect it to taste very good. "As soon as I walked into the restaurant, the amazing aromas made my mouth water."