A Chinese man was arrested for attempted theft and taken to hospital for a dose of laxatives on Wednesday after swallowing a diamond worth nearly $14,000 at a gem exhibition in Sri Lanka, police said.
The 32-year-old had asked the stall owner for a close inspection of the diamond on the opening day of Facets Sri Lanka, an annual jewellery show in the capital Colombo.
"He had taken the diamond out of a display cabinet and appeared to be appraising it and suddenly put it in his mouth," a police officer at the scene who declined to be named told AFP.
"The owner saw this and alerted us," he said, adding that the man was arrested and taken to Colombo National Hospital to be given laxatives.
A spokeswomen at the hospital said that an X-ray had been taken and that officers were holding him under observation.
"I believe the X-ray confirmed something that looked like a stone. The man has been taken away and he is in police custody," Pushpa Soya said.
Photographs showed the man, dressed in a black shirt and jeans with his head bowed, being escorted from the exhibition centre by uniformed policemen.
Police said the stall owner valued the missing diamond at 1.8 million rupees ($13,600).
Sri Lanka does not mine diamonds but it has a large gem and jewellery industry and is famed for its blue sapphires.