Jewel guards' catch leaves name tarnished
By MATHEW LOH
$1 MILLION in jewellery was stolen in four days from an ill-fated exhibition but all organisers had to show was a housewife who was caught lifting a necklace and a pin worth $2,500, it emerged yesterday.
Catching the 37-year-old Hong Kong woman was the only jewel in the crown for security officers at the Ninth International Jewellery Show which finished on Saturday.
Exhibition stands at Wan Chai's Convention and Exhibition Centre were robbed on a daily basis and one theft was not reported by security guards to police for two days.
The show's dismal security record started last Wednesday, with an opening day theft of diamond rings valued at $500,000, and ended with a total of just over $1 million in jewels being stolen.
Thai trader Harlyn Products was the second victim when $200,000-worth of jewels was stolen on Thursday afternoon.
But police did not hear of the theft until Saturday.
A police source said: ''The owner of Harlyn Products realised he was missing three trays of jewels on the afternoon of September 2. He informed security at the door so they could check people leaving and call the police. At least that is what he thought would happen.
''He didn't worry when no police came to his booth on the 2nd and carried on with business.
''Then on Saturday after calling his head office and dealing with his insurance company he was told he needed a receipt of his complaint from the police.
''He went to security and asked for the police reference number associated with his theft complaint and they turned around and said 'what theft?'.
''It appears the security guard forgot to call us which resulted in us looking into a theft two days after it happened. It really is a shambles down there,'' the source said.
The third theft occurred on Friday when a gang of people described as Europeans struck the Sunny Creations booth and stole 200 rings worth $300,000.
Then came the moment security had been praying for - a thief was caught red-handed.
But far from shining with a catch of a gang of international jewellery bandits, security guards apprehended a woman for shoplifting jewellery worth about $2,500.