A Chinese bidder admitted he intentionally sabotaged the controversial auction of artifacts allegedly looted from China by foreign troops during the Opium Wars by placing a winning bid and then refusing to pay, the Wall Street Journal reported. Chinese auction house owner Cai Mingchao said he made the US$36 million bid for the pieces by telephone last week when they were auctioned in Paris as part of a collection owned by the late French designer Yves Saint Laurent. The Chinese government had attempted to halt the sale of the relics, called for their return, and threatened to clamp down on Christie’s auction house operations in China. Beijing, however, disassociated itself from the fake bid. Cai has been lauded as a "national hero" by state media.