After woman leaves diamonds on Shanghai subway, police find them in trash can

The six-hour search for them involved officers and subway personnel

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 7:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 10:30pm

A a woman in Shanghai narrowly avoided the consequences of a costly mistake when she left a package containing nine loose diamonds worth 178,000 yuan (HK$224,800) on a metro train; but after a six-hour search, police and metro operators found the package in a garbage bin, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

The woman, identified only as Miss Hou, had claimed the package of diamonds from Shanghai’s customs office on the morning of June 6. She had intended to bring them to customers of the jewelry company for which she worked.

But while riding the no. 2 metro line from Haitiansan Road Station, she casually placed the black-covered express package below her seat. When the train reached Guanglan Road Station, she hurried off to make her transfer, leaving the package behind.

It wasn’t until the second train started moving that she realised she had forgotten the package on the previous train.

“I left my express package on the train. It’s really precious. What should I do?” a sobbing Miss Hou told the station police and subway staff.

“The woman passenger was totally frantic at that time. We tried to pacify her so that she could reflect on the whole process of this issue,” said Inspector Lu, of the Lujiazui Police Station. The police and subway operators first searched the train, but found no package.

“We carefully examined the interior of the train. Basically, passengers would not notice the position below the seat. So the package was not likely to have had been pilfered by someone.” Inspector Lu said.

“We first asked the subway operators to search every hole and corner of each station on the route. Then we searched Haitiansan Road Station and the termination Pudong Airport Station,” Lu said. He hypothesised that since the train travelled between the urban centre and the airport, it was possible that a cleaner had picked it up if no passenger had absconded with it.

The theory proved fruitful, if not totally correct: Police finally found the package, complete with the correct customs seal and code, in a garbage bin in Pudong International Airport. Inspector Lu called Miss Hou immediately after the package was found.

“The package was very light. It was most likely that a passenger mistook it for trash and threw it away. According to rules, cleanup crew are supposed to open and examine anything they find in the train,” Inspector Lu told the reporter.

Inside the nondescript package they found the nine diamonds, totaling 6.5 carets.