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Police hunt for 20 accomplices

Gem swallowing Chinaman



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By Norman Palihawadana


The police are looking for about 20 accomplices of the Chinese national who swallowed a diamond worth Rs. 1.8 million at a gem and jewellery exhibition at the BMICH on Wednesday.


Police headquarters yesterday said that the Chinese national now in custody for stealing the gem from Belgrade International stall belonged to an international gang of racketeers.


The man in custody is Chow Cheng (32).


He had visited the stall with an accomplice who ran away when the theft was discovered.


However, the police said the arrest of the other accomplices was imminent.


The members of the gang had, prior to stealing the gem, visited the stall and photographed it. They had then got a fake gem, made out of glass, with the identical size and replaced the original which was stolen. "Soon after stealing the gem, the Chinese national had swallowed it," an investigating officer said.


Investigations have revealed that the gang had visited countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa and Indonesia before coming here. They had arrived here as tourists on Monday.


The police said that the whole act of stealing the gem had been recorded by a CCTV camera installed at the stall.


The suspect has been warded at the ward No. 22 of the National Hospital since Wednesday. He had been given laxatives to extract the gem, but it had do far been unsuccessful.


Colombo Magistrate yesterday remanded Cheng until September 17. Medical tests indicated that the swallowed diamond is in the man’s small intestines now.


The owner of the stall said Cheng had tried to switch the original diamond with a synthetic one. Police suspect the Chinese national swallowed a fake diamond while another person who was with him slipped out with the actual gem. Police say the probes are continuing and await until the diamond makes through the digestive system of the man.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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