Published On : Fri, Sep 8th, 2017

Chinese jailed for diamond heist at Mumbai exhibition dies

Thane: A 48-year-old Chinese national arrested for alleged theft of diamonds died in the Thane central jail, a prison official has said.

The Vanrai police in adjoining Mumbai had arrested Jiang Changquing and another Chinese national Deng Xiaobo (45) on August 1 for allegedly stealing two diamonds worth Rs 36.5 lakh from an exhibition centre in suburban Goregaon.

Both of them were subsequently remanded in judicial custody and lodged in the Thane central jail. On August 29, while having lunch with Xiaobo in the prison, Changquing collapsed all of a sudden, Thane jail superintendent Nitin Waychal told reporters yesterday. He was rushed to the jail hospital and then taken to Thane civil hospital where doctors declared him brought dead, he said.

The jail authorities and the district police later informed the Chinese Embassy about the death, Waychal said. The deceased had no previous medical history, he said.

The autopsy was done at Mumbai’s J J Hospital where the body was handed over to Changquing’s family members on Wednesday, the official said.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel had nabbed Changquing and Xiaobo at the Mumbai international airport minutes before they were about to board a flight to Osaka in Japan on July 31, police earlier said.

The duo, who had arrived in the city on July 30, visited an international jewellery exhibition at NESCO ground in Mumbai’s Goregaon area on July 31 afternoon. They engaged the sales executive at one of the stalls in conversation, asking several questions, and managed to steal diamonds on display by replacing it with fake ones. The stall owner noticed the theft after the duo had left.

The police then alerted CISF officials at the airport. The duo had cleared immigration checks when the CISF personnel apprehended them, police had said.

The police interrogated the accused for about seven hours with the help of an interpreter, and recovered the stolen diamonds, they said. Subsequently, both were arrested on August 1 under relevant IPC sections for cheating and theft.