A man who investigators believed swallowed a $13,000 diamond at Sri Lanka's largest jewelry exhibition actually ingested a fake – and another man may have gotten away with the real one, media reports say.
Chou Wan, 32, of China, was arrested at the Facets exhibition in Colombo earlier this month on suspicion of swallowing the 1.5-carat diamond, the International Business Times reported.
But after authorities gave Chou laxatives and he passed the object, they learned it was a fake, the IBT reported Tuesday.
Police say a man who was with Chou at the exhibition might have gotten away with the real gem, and that Chou might have swallowed the fake to divert attention to himself, thereby buying time for the other man escape, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.
"We suspect that as habitual offenders, this group were in the habit of swapping real stones for fake ones," a police spokesman, Ajith Rohana, told the BBC.
Police said Chou had six more fake gems in his pocket, according to the BBC.
The diamond's owner, Suresh de Silva, told the BBC that the men visited his stall twice, and he stopped Chou and called for police on the second visit. He swallowed the fake when police arrived, de Silva told the BBC.
The BBC reports that police are trying to find the second man.