The precious stones on display proved too tempting for five would-be diamond thieves.
They were arrested on Wednesday for trying to steal gems worth US$880,000 (S$1.1m) at a jewellery fair in Hong Kong, the police said yesterday.
The spate of attempted thefts at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, which opened on Monday, may have been the work of a gang from mainland China, the media reported.
A 41-year-old man posing as a buyer tried to switch a five-carat stone worth HK$3 million (S$490,000) with a fake.
When he was challenged by a staff member, he dropped the real diamond and was arrested by the police, the paper said.
"All the arrested persons were from the mainland, although we still don't know whether they were working together," a police spokesman told AFP.
Another police source, quoted by the South China Morning Post, said the police were looking into whether the men were from the same gang.
"We believe they are trained to commit such crimes before coming to Hong Kong to steal," the paper quoted a police officer as saying.
"They usually work in a group of three or four, including lookouts and others who distract staff while the thieves strike."
The fair is being held at two locations in Hong Kong, with 3,600 exhibitors from 48 countries, said the event website.
This article was first published on Sept 19, 2014.
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