CHINA> Regional
Plan to switch diamond backfires
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-27 10:20

SHANGHAI: Two men who tried to swap an expensive diamond for a fake one have ended up swapping their liberty for jail.

Police allege the two men, Li Yinlin, 35, and Wan Zhaorong, 45, stole a diamond worth 330,000 yuan ($48,000) by switching it for a fake one at First Asia Jewelry Store in the city's Yu Garden tourist area on Monday.

The salesman didn't notice the switch until an hour later.

Surveillance videos in the store and the neighborhood caught the two, with a third man, get into a taxi.

Police contacted the driver and by the next afternoon had tracked them down to a nearby hotel, where they discovered the expensive diamond, a 25,200-yuan diamond ring stolen on Sunday from a Cartier shop as well as fake diamonds of various sizes.

The three men apparently came to Shanghai last Saturday and scoped out several shops in the Yuyuan Garden area. They decided on the First Asia store because there was only one assistant on during lunch.

Li and Wan visited the store on Sunday and told the assistant Wan was getting married and needed to buy the one-carat diamond, police said. As the assistant looked for the tool to pick up it, Li took a fake diamond from his pocket and made the swap in seconds, police alleged.