Security boosted as theft suspects held

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am


More than 600 police and security guards are patrolling the city's biggest international gem show to combat jewellery thieves.

The intensified security measures were disclosed after the arrest of two mainland visitors on suspicion of stealing a 5.5 carat diamond worth HK$1.55 million on the opening day of the 29th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show at the Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

Police said the men, aged 33 and 39 and from Hunan province, crossed a border checkpoint in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

The well-dressed pair, posing as customers, approached an American exhibitor's booth on the fifth floor of the venue, asking to see diamonds at about 11.15am, about an hour after the opening ceremony. The older man waited outside the booth.

After 15 minutes, the younger man suddenly tried to leave, but staff stopped him and a fake diamond fell during the struggle.

'This suspect was found holding a 5.5 carat diamond in his palm. It belonged to the booth and was one of the diamonds he demanded to see,' Senior Inspector Chan Shuk-fun of the Hong Kong Island regional crime unit said. She believed the younger man carried the fake diamond into the jewellery show and intended to swap it for the real one.

Last night, the two men were being detained for questioning.

Over the years, security at the jewellery show has been stepped up, and this year it is understood that plain-clothes officers are also on patrol.