‘Crystal-shaped objects’ shown in stomach X-ray of suspect who swallowed 10 diamonds and rings worth HK$60m in botched theft

Man being monitored in custodial hospital ward, with valuables still in his system

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 11:38pm

The X-rays of a Jordanian man held over a botched HK$100 million jewellery theft in Hong Kong showed “crystal-shaped objects” in his stomach, police said on Friday.

Officers believed the suspect swallowed 10 diamonds and three rings worth about HK$60 million in a robbery attempt gone wrong on Thursday.

A 30-carat rectangular diamond, about 2cm long, was the biggest and the most expensive of the 13 items police had not recovered from the scene, according to a source.

“An X-ray examination conducted on Thursday night showed crystal-shaped objects in his stomach,” the source said. “By the afternoon [on Friday], none of the stolen property had been discharged.

“We were told it would take two or three days [for the items to pass through the man’s system],” he said, adding that police would check with doctors if laxative tablets would help.

He said the man’s condition was stable, and he was under 24-hour police guard.

On Friday night, the 22-year-old was still being held in the custodial ward of Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam and had not been charged.

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The valuables were part of a HK$100 million haul – 18 diamonds, three rings and US$8,600 in cash – taken from a safe in the office of M&B Diamonds in Central on Thursday afternoon.

According to authorities, the suspect posed as a jewellery buyer and contacted the company’s Israeli owner through Instagram before coming to Hong Kong from the Middle East on Wednesday.

Police said the man visited the office on the 16th floor of Winway Building on Wellington Street twice on Thursday morning to scout the premises.

He returned at 2pm, when two female employees were there. He attacked one of the women, 38, shortly after her colleague went out for lunch.

Officers said it seemed the woman was beaten unconscious after she refused to reveal the password.

Shortly before 2.30pm, the man found a key to open the safe but, in trying to open it, triggered the security system which locked the door to the premises. That system alerted a security company, which called police.

“He failed to unlock the front door and, as he heard someone trying to open it from outside, he swallowed part of the haul with water behind the reception counter, before hiding in a store room,” another source said.

Police and the company’s 32-year-old Israeli owner arrived to find the woman unconscious in one of the rooms.

“The suspect pretended to be unconscious when he was found inside the store room,” the source said.

Eight diamonds, valued at US$5.4 million, were found on him along with the US$8,600 in cash.

After poring over security camera footage, authorities suspected the man acted alone.