A female visitor from the mainland was arrested on suspicion of stealing 13 loose diamonds worth nearly HK$100,000 in total at Hong Kong’s largest jewellery show on Wednesday. It was the first case since the annual Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show opened at AsiaWorld-Expo on Tuesday on Lantau Island. Detectives were investigating whether the woman had been hired to come to Hong Kong to look for opportunities to steal at the event, part of the seven-day Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. The arrest was made at about 4pm on Tuesday after police received a report from one of the 1,880 exhibitors at the fair. Initial investigation showed the woman, wearing a black leather jacket and red dress, posed as a buyer when visiting the booth and demanded staff show her some diamonds, according to senior inspector Man Chi-yeung of the New Territories South regional crime unit. READ MORE: Woman convicted of jewellery show theft will give birth in Hong Kong prison “We believe the suspect snatched the diamonds and put them into her bag when staff members failed to pay attention to her,” Man said. He said the woman left the booth without making any purchase. Shortly after she left the booth, the exhibitor found diamonds missing, and staff then gave chase. At the same time, police and security guards were alerted. Officers intercepted the woman near one of the exits but failed to find the stolen diamonds, according to police. “But the stolen property was recovered in a handbag retrieved along her escape route. Police also seized the woman’s admission pass from inside the bag,” a source with knowledge of the investigation said. The source said police were still investigating whether she had accomplices. The hooded and handcuffed suspect was taken out of the venue at about 5.30pm and driven to a nearby police station. Last night, the woman was being held for questioning and had not been charged. The senior inspector said tightened security had been put in place at the venue. He added that theft is a serious criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The jewellery show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, is being held at two venues – AsiaWorld-Expo at Hong Kong International Airport and the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The AsiaWorld-Expo segment, which began on Tuesday and will run until Saturday, showcases raw materials including diamonds, precious gems, semi-precious stones and pearls. The Wan Chai event, which runs from Thursday to Monday, highlights finished jewellery products. More than 4,300 exhibitors from 54 countries are taking part in the two events that together constitute the world’s largest jewellery marketplace.