Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Woman nabbed for theft, alleged victim visits Taipei

INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION A Swiss jeweler arrived in Taiwan yesterday, two days after the woman he alleges stole from him was arrested at CKS airport

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police announced yesterday that they have arrested a Taiwanese woman accused of stealing jewelry worth around US$5 million from a Swiss jeweler in Geneva.

The jeweler, surnamed Antonio, accused Chen Yung-hsia (陳永霞) of stealing four items from him after knocking him unconscious with doctored drinks.

Antonio arrived in Taipei yesterday to provide local police with his statement and evidence about the robbery, the National Police Agency (NPA) said yesterday in a statement to the media.

"Prosecutors applied to Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office to detain Chen today [yesterday] on a charge of robbery," the NPA statement said.

On Friday, police confiscated eight pieces of jewelry from Chen, including two pieces that Antonio claims were his -- one with a 17 carat diamond and one with a 17.4 carat diamond.

The NPA claim Chen had already sold two pieces that Antonio said were his, one with a 14 carat diamond and one with a 10 carat diamond.

Chen told police that six of the jewelry pieces were hers. However, police are investigating whether a 119 carat emerald necklace in Chen's possession is in fact one that was reported stolen from a jeweler in the US.

Chen, who served a two-year prison term for fraud, denied the theft accusations, claiming that Antonio was her boyfriend and the jewelry had been given to her.

Antonio said he had only met Chen three times and he was not her boyfriend, police said.

Police said the 48-year-old Chen became acquainted with Antonio when she attended a jewelry fair in Geneva in 2001.

Last month, Antonio was authorized by two of his customers to sell four diamond pieces for them. Chen told Antonio she could look for buyers in Asia for him, and the pair met in a Geneva hotel so she could examine the jewelry.

Antonio told police that Chen disappeared with the pieces after he lost consciousness.

The NPA launched its probe after Swiss authorities made a request for help in their investigation through the International Criminal Police Organization.

Police learned that Chen had returned home on July 20 and they began to monitor her Taipei residence and her telephones. They learned a few days ago that Chen planned to fly to Macau last Friday to meet with potential buyers.

Police picked her up at CKS International Airport on Friday before she could board her flight.

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