Unidentified Zambian arrested in SA diamond syndicate

South African undercover police officers have arrested five illegal diamond dealers after the men offered to pay R120 000 for a raw, uncut diamond.

Police spokesman Captain Khephu Ndlovu said police officers had been following the suspects for a few hours and managed to make a breakthrough in the case after they presented themselves as potential clients on Wednesay. He said a man approached police earlier in the week and told them he had bought an uncut diamond for R9 000.

“The informant… pretended to be looking for buyers for a diamond he had while his wife (one of the undercover officers), was with him. A meeting was set up for the exchange on Charlotte Maxeke (Beatrice) Street,” he said.

Ndlovu said more undercover police in three vehicles waited to pounce once a deal had been struck.

The syndicate included two foreigners – a Zambian and a Zimbabwean – as well as a man who claimed to be a jewellery shop owner and diamond evaluator at Musgrave Centre. Ndlovu said the informant and the officer had been selling the raw diamond for R285 000, but the evaluator and the Zambian offered R30 000 for it. The men agreed on a higher price and set up a meeting.

“When the undercover officers got to the meeting place, the Zambian suspect demanded to see the diamond and said he only had R120 000 with him. The officer signalled to her colleagues, who arrested the suspects,” he said.

Ndlovu said another raw diamond was found on one of the suspects after the arrest. – Daily News

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