A pair of Chinese men apparently were caught trying to steal at least one valuable diamond during the opening day of the annual Facets Sri Lanka jewelry expo in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sept. 5, but police will have to wait to obtain the hard evidence.
Sri Lankan police arrested a 32-year-old Chinese man identified as Chow Cheng after he allegedly swallowed a diamond he had obtained from its owner under the guise of inspecting it. An alleged accomplice attempted to distract the stone’s rightful owner, Suresh de Silva, but Silva claims he saw Cheng place the diamond in his mouth, swallow it and try to replace it with a fake gem.
“He came with another Chinese man. One of them tried to distract me while the other had a diamond in his hand,” said Suresh de Silva, director, Belgrade International Gem Store, to French news service AFP. “When I realized what was happening and shouted, one ran away and we managed to catch the man who swallowed the stone.”
The 1.5 carat stone measures about 7.2 millimeters across and is worth up to $14,000. Sri Lankan doctors attempted to remove it by administering laxatives, but the stone reportedly was lodged in the man’s gullet. Because it could cut up Cheng’s insides, doctors likely will try to remove it through a surgical procedure to prevent potential death.
Sri Lankan police arrested Cheng but reportedly have not arrested his likely accomplice, who fled the scene on foot. The Facets Sri Lanka gem and jewelry expo runs from Sept. 5 through Sept. 8.