Cleaners inadvertently threw away a painting that had been auctioned for HK$28.8 million (2.67m euros) just days earlier, media reports suggest.
Snowy Mountain, by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo, was reported missing by auctioneers Poly Auction, police said.
Police checked CCTV footage of the auction that showed hotel cleaners removing the packaged artwork, reported Ming Pao newspaper. This raised fears the painting had been sent with the garbage to landfill.
A source told South China Morning Post police had been to Hong Kong’s landfill, but were unable to locate the painting.
Poly Auction Hong Kong was not immediately available for comment.
Gladis Young, director of communications at the Grand Hyatt hotel, said hotel staff were not involved because organisers of events involving valuable items usually hired external staff to deal with security and handling goods.
Snowy Mountain, published on Twitter
— MoonStar Fine Arts (@MoonStar_fa) April 9, 2014