A Chinese national, Wu Youquan, found himself entangled in a criminal enterprise when he agreed to participate in a “fast cash” job involving the swapping of a genuine diamond ring at Tiffany & Co with a replica. This bizarre incident unfolded at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) outlet in Singapore.
On January 19, 2024, Wu Youquan was sentenced to three years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to the theft charge, according to The Straits Times.
Wu, an odd job worker, was propositioned by a man named Chen Hanbo in October 2023. Chen presented Wu with a “high-risk” opportunity, not disclosing the exact earnings but assuring him that he wouldn’t be short-changed. Intrigued, Wu agreed to participate in the plan.
The Diamond Heist
In November 2023, Wu arrived in Singapore, courtesy of Chen, and headed to Tiffany & Co at MBS. Posing as “Mr. Liew” from Taiwan, he pretended to be shopping for a gift for his wife. Under the guise of a customer, Wu took pictures of a genuine 3.18-carat diamond ring worth $318,000 along with its price tag.
Wu then returned to China, where Chen informed him that he would receive a replica of the genuine ring by post. Wu flew back to Singapore, with Chen covering his travel expenses once again.
Back at Tiffany & Co, Wu was attended to by a team manager. Employing sleight of hand, he swapped the genuine 3.18-carat ring with the replica while distracting the manager by expressing interest in another piece of jewelry. Wu, claiming to have changed his mind, left the store.
Unraveling the Crime
The team manager soon noticed discrepancies in the texture of the price tag attached to the replica ring. Realizing foul play, she confronted Wu, who remained silent. The male colleague, alerted to the situation, decided to conduct a physical check.
In a dramatic turn of events, Wu admitted to the theft, producing the genuine ring from his pocket. He sought forgiveness but was promptly arrested.