Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Shop manager allegedly steals 30 Rolexes

THEFT, DIVORCE AND FLIGHT Police said that a manager for the Chung-Mai Watch Corp likely took the watches, asked to be released from his marriage and fled to China

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police said yesterday that they were looking for a manager of a well-known Taipei watch shop on the suspicion that he stole 30 Rolex watches before fleeing to China last week.

Chung-Mai Watch Corp (中美鐘錶公司) runs seven shops nationwide. One of its Taipei shops was also robbed of 29 Rolex watches in a separate incident late last month.

The Zhongshan Police District of the Taipei City Police Department said yesterday that Liu Shou-chuan (劉守全), 44 -- the manager of the Chung-Mai shop located on Zhongxiao E. Rd. near the Sogo Department Store -- allegedly stole 30 expensive Rolex watches worth a total of about NT$38 million (US$1.1 million) on Oct. 5 and fled to China on Oct. 6.

Police here are attempting to discover Liu's whereabouts and have also asked Chinese authorities to look for him.

Police said that according to Liu's wife, he left a written message in their home that said he had to leave because of heavy credit-card debts and also owed substantial amounts to black-market money lenders.

Liu also left a divorce agreement document behind and asked his wife to sign it.

On Oct. 5, Liu made phone calls to colleagues at three other Chung-Mai shops in Taipei, asking that each shop send two or three Rolex watch models to his store because customers wanted to take a look at them, police said.

Later that night, Liu allegedly removed those watches and a number of other valuable items from his shop.

According to police, Liu then took a flight to Hong Kong on the morning of Oct. 6. He was suspected of then continuing on to China, they said.

Liu had worked for the company for nearly 20 years and was one of the most senior members of the staff, representatives of the watch chain said.

In a separate incident on Sept. 28, a man wielding a pistol stole 29 Rolex watches from a Chung-Mai shop located on the corner of Changchun Rd. and Linsen N Rd.

Working quickly, he took the watches in just two minutes, police said.

Because the suspect spoke Mandarin that had a heavy Cantonese accent and did not wear a mask to conceal his identity or gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints behind, police believe the suspect is from China.

He likely planned to flee the country soon after committing the crime, police said.

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