Man steals $14,000 diamond by swallowing it

Man who swallowed a diamond 
By: Debbie Gross 

A common tool used by smugglers is to have merchandise swallowed. Now, a thief tried to steal a diamond by swallowing it.

A Chinese man was arrested for attempted robbery after swallowing a diamond worth about $14,000 at a jewelry exhibition in Sri Lanka this week. He will have to undergo surgery to remove the diamond, police said.

The 32-year-old had asked the booth owner for a close inspection of 1.5 carat diamond on the opening day of the exhibition in Sri Lanka, an annual jewelry show in the capital Colombo.

"He came with another Chinese man. One of them tried to distract the owner while the other had a diamond in his hand," said Suresh de Silva, director of the Belgrade International jewel shop.

"When I realized what was happening and screamed, one man escaped. I managed to catch the man who swallowed the diamond," the booth worker said.

The man was taken to the Colombo National Hospital where he was to be administered laxatives, but police said that X-rays showed that diamond lodged in his throat and was not going down.

"The doctors have advised surgery to remove the diamond," said police spokesperson Ajith Rohana.

"The man's life could be in danger if the tip of the diamond tears something inside his body. The court was already informed about the decision of the doctors. For the safety of the man, he will have to undergo surgery," a police spokesperson said.

He said a successful prosecution depends on the recovery of the stone, adding that officials were also keen to interviewing the other man, who fled the scene.

The two men had come to Sri Lanka on Monday, as tourists, police said.

A hospital spokesperson said that an X-ray was taken and that the agents were holding the suspect under observation.

"I think the X-ray confirmed what looked like a diamond. That man is under arrest by the police," said the National Hospital spokesperson Pushpa Soya.