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Crime in Hong Kong

Police hunt jewellery thief behind HK$500,000 diamond switch in Hung Hom

The man entered Whampoa Garden branch of MaBelle jewellery company and demanded employees show him a 2-carat diamond

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 2:42pm

Police are hunting for a jewellery thief who posed as a big spender and switched a diamond worth HK$500,000 (US$63,950) in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The middle-aged Chinese man entered the Whampoa Garden branch of MaBelle jewellery company on Shung King Street, Hung Hom at about 2pm on Tuesday. He spoke Mandarin and was carrying a Louis Vuitton shoulder bag.

Inside the shop, he demanded employees show him a 2-carat diamond, according to police.

“An investigation showed the culprit switched the real diamond with a fake without being noticed by the employees who served him,” a police source said.

After staying for about five minutes, the man left the shop without buying anything.

One of the employees later noticed the fake diamond and called police soon after 2.30pm. Officers scoured the area, but no arrest was made. Police were poring over security camera footage to collect evidence.

“The man acted alone and left on foot heading toward Hung Hom MTR station,” the source said. “We are still investigating whether he had scouted the jewellery shop before the raid and whether there have been similar case in other districts.”

The man was described as about 40, 1.75 metres tall and of thin build. He was wearing a black jumper at the time of the incident.

Another source said mainland Chinese thieves often came to the city ahead of the festive season to look for opportunities. “We believe some of them are trained to commit such crimes before coming to Hong Kong to steal,” he said.

The theft happened just two days after the start of the annual police campaign against crimes such as burglary and shop thefts during the festive season.

During the operation, which started on Sunday and will end after the Lunar New Year, officers step up patrols and observation posts in high-risk locations, in addition to conducting an anti-crime publicity campaign.