Jewellery fair the latest theft target

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 September, 2009, 12:00am

Security measures at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair were put to the test yesterday after a mainland man was arrested on suspicion of stealing pearls worth an estimated HK$40,000. Police said the man, 38, was arrested hours after arriving from the mainland.

He was held on suspicion of stealing two bags of pearls at the fair, which is being staged at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The show is being organised by UBM Asia.

An employee saw the man acting suspiciously at one of the exhibition booths. The worker alerted police, who arrested the suspect and recovered the two bags of pearls. Last night, the man was still being questioned and had not been charged.

Watch and jewellery trade fairs in Hong Kong are an attraction for thieves.

At the 2005 Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, organised by the Trade Development Council, four Colombians were caught trying to steal a diamond necklace worth HK$1.2 million. In June, 2001, a man was arrested after trying to steal a briefcase containing diamonds worth HK$62 million from the Hong Kong Jewellery and Watch Fair. Five days later, about 60 diamonds worth HK$5 million were stolen. In March, 2000, jewellery worth HK$500,000 disappeared after being delivered to the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. Three days later, a jeweller from Dubai reported his briefcase, containing gems worth HK$1.16 million, had disappeared.

Over the years, security at the fair has been stepped up, with a significant police presence.