A Chinese man has been arrested for trying to steal a valuable diamond during an annual jewelry exhibition in Sri Lanka.
Police arrested a Chinese tourist for theft after he was caught swallowing a diamond worth nearly $14,000. Police officials have stated that if the stone does not pass he may have to undergo surgery to remove the gem.
Local reports indicate the man, whose name has not been released, asked one of the workers at the exhibit to closely examine the 1.5-carat diamond on the opening day of Facets Sri Lanka, an annual jewelry show in the capital city of Colombo.
"He came with another Chinese man. One of them tried to distract me while the other had a diamond in his hand," Suresh de Silva, director of the Belgrade International gem store, told AFP.
"When I realized what was happening and shouted, one ran away and we managed to catch the man who swallowed the stone," he added.
The thief was taken to the Colombo National Hospital where he given laxatives, but X-rays showed the diamond had not traveled very far and was stuck in his intestines, according to police.
A spokeswoman at the hospital said that an X-ray had been taken and that officers were holding the suspect while he remained under observation.
"Doctors have advised surgery to remove the diamond," Ajith Rohana, Sri Lankan police spokesman, told AFP.
"The man's life could be in danger if the pointed end of the diamond tears his guts. We have already informed courts about this. For the man's own safety, he will have to undergo surgery," he added.
The diamond's owner stated that the man accused of swallowing the stone had offered to pay for the gem, which has been valued at nearly $14,000, but organizers of the jewelry exhibition have insisted that police follow through with formal charges.