Diamond swallowed at exhibition a fake; $13,000 gem still missing

Sri Lanka's diamond-swallowing story took an surprising turn Tuesday as police revealed the 1.5 carat stone gulped by Chou Wan, 32, at a gem show was fake, and that the real thief is still out there with the stolen precious stone valued at $13,000.

Wan was taken to Colombo National Hospital on Saturday where X-rays showed a stone lodged in his stomach, after which he was given a high dose of laxatives.

BBC reports that Wan’s behaviour is likely to have been part of a ploy to distract the diamond's owner, Suresh de Silva, and help the actual perpetrator escape.

De Silva told BBC that the Chinese visitors had come to his booth twice and that he believed the diamond was stolen during the first visit and not the second one, when Wan swallowed the fake diamond.

Sri Lanka does not have diamonds mines, but the nation is renowned for other highly valued stones and jewellery, especially for its blue sapphires. Facets Sri Lanka 2012 is the country’s largest gem and jewellery annual exhibition and it attracts a large number of local and foreign buyers.