Thieves targeting tiny trees

A bonsai tree similar to this, along with six others, were stolen from Li Heng Liang’s home in Stanmore Bay and Police are looking for leads.

A bonsai tree that is around 20 years old was among seven that were stolen from Li Heng and Tian Liang’s home in Stanmore Bay.

Security camera footage shows two men, one in overalls, removing the trees from the couple’s front door display at around midnight on August 30.

It’s the first time that Constable Sean Fahy of Orewa Police has had to solve a crime involving stolen bonsai. He says Police followed one lead that was not successful and they are seeking the public’s help.

While young bonsai can be purchased for around $30-$50, large ones that have taken years to create can be worth hundreds of dollars.

Most people grow them for their own pleasure, rather than for sale, as the ancient art of bonsai has many followers and this is definitely the case for Li Heng.

He says he took up the hobby when he moved to New Zealand from China in 1989. He enjoys the time consuming and precise work of training a tree or shrub seedling over many years to resemble a miniature tree in a pot.

For him, the bonsai are priceless, representing years of patient trimming and shaping.

Li Heng says it’s the first time he and Tian have been burgled and they feel sad about the trees that were taken and less safe in what they thought was a secure neighbourhood.

The couple has put more security measures in place, in case the burglars come back.

If anyone has any information that could help solve this crime, contact Constable Sean Fahy, Orewa Police, on 021 191 4340, email, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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