Eleven foreign suspects have been identified in the theft of gems from a Taipei jewelry expo on Monday, with police contacting Interpol after discovering that at least five of the suspects had left the country.
The eight men and three women were mostly from Colombia and Mexico, not the Middle East as reports said yesterday, police said.
The heist occurred after the closing of the Taiwan Jewellery & Gem Fair on Monday, when the suspects allegedly stole a purse that contained jewelry worth NT$200 million (US$6.63 million) from the basement car park of the Taipei World Trade Center.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“Five of the suspects — four men and one women — took taxis to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport immediately after the theft to catch flights to Hong Kong, Dubai and Turkey,” Taipei Criminal Investigation Division chief Cheng Kuo-lung (鄭國隆) said.
Turkish authorities picked up one of the suspects for questioning at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, but could not arrest him, as they did not find the stolen gems in the suspect’s possession, Cheng said.
Taiwanese authorities believe the other six suspects are still in the nation, but investigations are ongoing to determine where they are staying and the location of the stolen gems, Cheng said.
After checking the suspects’ exit and entry records, police discovered that some members of the group attended the Taiwan Jewellery & Gem Fair three years ago.
There have been some uncertainties regarding the case, with many criticizing Jurassic Inc (侏儸紀寶石) general manager Jade Wu (伍穗華) for lax security while transporting the gems.
Other reports valued the gems higher, with some saying they were worth as much as NT$250 million.
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