A suspected thief from mainland China was arrested in possession of a fake diamond police believe she intended to swap for a real gem less than an hour before Hong Kong’s major international jewellery show opened on Wednesday. The woman, 42, who arrived from central Henan province on Tuesday, was stopped and searched by police after she was found acting suspiciously at a registration booth at the AsiaWorld-Expo venue of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair at about 9.40am. “A fake diamond about one centimetre in [circumference] was found in a secret pocket inside her handbag,” senior inspector Or Wing-yan of the New Territories South regional crime unit said. “We have reasons to believe she wanted to enter the venue to steal a diamond by swapping it with the fake.” READ MORE: Trio of separate thefts in Hong Kong sees HK$666,000 in valuables go missing The woman was arrested on suspicion of going equipped for stealing – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail. At noon on Wednesday, the woman was being held for questioning and had not been charged. The seven-day jewellery show runs at two venues – the AsiaWorld-Expo at Hong Kong International Airport and the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The AsiaWorld-Expo segment, which runs from Wednesday until Sunday, showcases raw materials including diamonds, loose gemstones and pearls, along with equipment and packaging. The Wan Chai event, which runs from Friday until next Tuesday, highlights finished products. More than 3,700 exhibitors from 50 countries take part in the two events. The senior inspector said police have deployed sufficient manpower to tackle all illegal activities at the AsiaWorld-Expo venue. Hong Kong’s jewellery shows are no stranger to crime. Three months ago, diamonds and other jewels worth more than HK$5 million were stolen in 12 reports of theft on the first day of a jewellery show at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Seven visitors from the mainland – five women and two men – were arrested in connection with some of the cases. In March, four female visitors from the mainland were arrested after two three-carat diamonds worth about HK$1.5 million in total were swapped with fakes in two separate booths at the city’s International Jewellery Show at the AsiaWorld-Expo.