Alleged jewel thief swallowed 6-carat diamond. Retrieval unpleasant for all … – Washington Post

This will not go down in history as one of your big jewel heists. There were no secret tunnels dug into safes or masked men with guns and carefully planned getaways. Maybe, actually, it’s as much a medical story. Laxatives, these days, just aren’t what they used to be.

It all began with very smiley couple sampling the wares of one of the diamond merchants at the 56th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair, according to the Bangkok Post.

The surveillance video shows them in what seems to be perfectly pleasant conversation with two sales assistants as they eye trays of uncut diamonds. The man reaches over and picks up one of the trays that’s been placed on the counter for them. The couple examines one of the gems, and asks the price. The woman, with a wave of her hand, signals her disinterest. Perhaps she thought it too expensive. After all, six carats — about 10 million baht, or $280,000 — that’s a lot of money.

The video, admittedly imperfect, then appears to show the couple returning the stone and the box to the assistant. Still smiling, they then disappear from view.

One of the saleswomen — they must be well-trained — knows right away that something is wrong. The stone the couple returned is a fake. Within seconds, she goes running after them. By then, according to the Bangkok Post, the couple had taken off in a taxi.

Armed with the video footage, however, police alerted immigration authorities and somehow tracked them down. According to the Post, the couple, identified as Jiang Zulian, 39, and Hae Ying, 34, both from China, were taken into custody. They denied taking the stone. This was on Thursday.

On Friday, however, the Post reported, “Ms. Yang was forced to confess to having swallowed the precious gemstone after an X-ray scan showed a diamond like object in her large intestine.”

The Bangkok Post picks up the story from there with this headline on Saturday: Diamond theft: Waiting for nature/laxatives to do the job.”

A team of police at the Police General Hospital has the unpleasant job of watching and waiting for a Chinese woman to pass a 10-million baht diamond she allegedly swallowed last Thursday. Despite doses of laxatives, the jewel remained in her body as of Saturday.

Next came the 11:30 a.m. update:

Thai TV channel 3 reports that nature still has not taken its course and repeated X-rays indicate that the stolen diamond remains in Jiang Zulian’s large intestine. She is reportedly feeling weak and is eating and drinking little.

The next update reported that the woman had agreed to “the medical procedure,” by which “a special type of forceps was used as a colonoscope.”

And then the big news:

Thai Channel 3 has just reported that doctors at the Police General Hospital have recovered the diamond from a Chinese woman’s body. The channel showed photos of a doctor showing off the diamond in the middle of a smiling group of medical staff.

It described the woman as “well but visibly very weak.”

 

Her condition did not stop authorities from hauling her and her alleged male accomplice back to the jewelry fair. There — she facedown on a table, he looking guilty next to her — were pictured surrounded by a variety of uniformed and civilian officials, many holding their thumbs up in victory. The caption took due note:

In a very unusual ceremony, the two suspects were taken to the jewelry fair in Muang Thong Thai where the stolen diamond was returned to its owner. Weakened from days of little food and water and a medical procedure to remove the diamond, the woman suspect, Jiang Zulian, seemed barely conscious.