ALOR GAJAH, Malaysia - Grave robbers struck in Nyalas town and damaged four graves while looking for jewellery and other valuables.
The damage was discovered when families went to the Chinese cemetery in Kampung Gapis to clean the graves for the Qing Ming festival next month.
Businessman Yau Lay Tong, 60, said his mother's grave had been dug right down to the coffin. Yau and his brother had gone to the cemetery at about 7.30am on March 23 to clean the grave. He lodged a police report later that morning.
A 60-year-old lorry driver, who asked for anonymity, said he found his grandfather's grave dug out as well. He was told about the damage by a friend who had gone there to perform prayers and saw that the grave had been desecrated.
"I cried when I saw what had been done," he said. "It is a heartless act."
He has hired a contractor to repair the damage and will perform prayers at the graveside on Sunday.
A villager, Manaf Abilah, 46, believed that the graves were desecrated a few days before the families came to the cemetery.
"We noticed that some tombstones had been damaged earlier and had asked friends to help alert their next-of-kin," he said.
But Manaf was not aware that the graves had been dug up and the coffins tampered with. "This must be the work of lunatics," he added.
Alor Gajah MP Datuk Koh Nai Kwong condemned the heinous act and hoped that those responsible would be caught.