Chinese man arrested for exchanging Tiffany diamond ring with counterfeit

By Linh Le   January 21, 2024 | 09:24 pm PT
A Chinese man named Wu Youquan was detained for trying to switch a diamond ring valued at SG$318,000 (US$237,000) with a fake one at a Tiffany & Co store in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
A gloved hand picking up jewelry. Illustration photo by Freepik

A gloved hand picking up jewelry. Illustration photo by Freepik

The 44-year-old admitted to theft and received a 40-month prison sentence on Friday, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

Wu disclosed in court that in October last year, he was lured by another Chinese national named Chen Hanbo via WeChat, with the offer of a "fast cash job." This job entailed substituting a real diamond ring at the high-end jewelry store with an imitation. The exact payment was not specified to Wu, but he was promised a reasonable amount.

According to The Straits Times, Wu traveled to Singapore by himself on Nov. 1, 2023, with his journey funded by Chen. His task was to go to the Tiffany & Co. store at Marina Bay Sands, find the most expensive diamond ring, and photograph it.

After returning to China and sending Chen the photo of a 3.18-carat diamond ring, Wu got a counterfeit ring from Chen through the mail. On Nov. 20, 2023, he returned to Singapore and revisited the same store. Wu distracted the store’s team manager and switched the rings.

His scheme unraveled when the manager noticed the price tag on the fake ring felt different. When a store employee was about to search him, Wu pulled out the real ring from his pocket and pleaded for mercy. He was subsequently arrested.

A Singaporean prosecutor suggested at court a minimum of 42 months in jail for Wu. Under Singaporean law, a person guilty of stealing from a dwelling could face up to seven years in prison and a fine.

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