Jewellery exhibitors step up security
By BRENDAN DELFINO
EXHIBITORS at this year's Hong Kong International Jewellery Show are upgrading security measures individually to combat the notorious incidence of thefts at the event.
Many of the 400 local and foreign exhibitors have brought additional staff and employed a stricter routine of customer service to stop itchy fingers from sampling the merchandise.
A stall operator for the Win Sun Jewellery Company, Hesan Choi Hei-yan, said his security principle was to keep the goods safely in the display counter until a customer was genuinely interested in a specific article.
''No matter how much house security you have, your stall must be properly set up to prevent thefts. All of our cabinets are accessible by staff only and we have actually increased manpower this year to keep an eye on every customer.'' Karl Leung Wing-man, marketing representative for World Jewellery Company, said his stall was using similar tactics and taking a serious approach to customer service.
''Good thieves are still able to steal things no matter what security there is. This year we have brought more people to work for us and will only serve customers on a one-on-one basis.
''If one shop assistant serves three customers then he can't keep his attention on all of them at the same time. It is the stall owners' responsibility to look after themselves because security provided just walks up and down the aisles.'' Mr Leung said customers could easily pocket small items such as diamonds and other stones if the sales assistant is distracted for even a second.
''We are only displaying one piece of jewellery at a time over the counter as bringing out a whole tray of small pieces makes it easier for thieves.'' Chairman of the exhibition's security sub-committee, Karl Shin Shiu-kau, said despite the security measures taken by organisers, stall operators were still obliged to take care of their own stalls.
''Due to popular request we have done away with the metal detectors and X-ray machines and instead stepped up both uniformed and plain-clothes patrols throughout the exhibition.
''We have roughly 40 people on each floor of the exhibition but the owners must also take their own precautions.''