Doctors in Bangkok discovered and removed a diamond worth 10 million Thai baht ($280,000) from inside the lower intestine of a Chinese tourist during a colonoscopy.
Thai Police Colonel Mana Tienmaungpak told reporters Sunday that doctors removed a six-carat diamond stone from a female Chinese tourist’s large intestine after scans revealed a foreign object lodged inside the woman identified as 39-year-old Jiang Xulian.
The request for colonoscopy came after police investigations led to the arrest of the Chinese woman and a Chinese man at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday as they were about to travel out of Thailand.
Prior to the arrest, police investigators had obtained security footage that appeared to show the couple at a jewelry fair in Nonthaburi requesting to examine a valuable diamond and then cleverly switching the diamond for a fake one.
The diamond sellers apparently raised an alarm after discovering they were keeping a fake stone. The dealers identified the couple whom they believed had switched the real diamond for a fake one.
The suspects denied when investigators confronted them. They protested, saying they were only tourists returning to China after holidays in Thailand. But scans revealed a solid object suspected to be the diamond inside the woman, and she finally confessed.
Officer Mana, who led the investigation, said surgeons then used a colonoscope to pull out the six-caract diamond from the woman’s lower intestine. The owners of the diamond identified it after doctors removed it from the Chinese woman’s intestines.
The doctors were forced to use the instrument after laxatives failed to flush it out.
Surgeons normally use a colonoscope to screen patients for surgery and remove intestinal tumors suspected to be cancerous.
Doctors said that the woman, who now faces up to three years in prison, risked her health because the precious stone could have damaged her large intestine.
Although it is unusual for smugglers to hide stones in their intestine, it is not unusual for smugglers to swallow drugs in the hope of beating border authorities.
Drug smugglers often try to smuggle hard drugs by placing them inside capsules or condoms and swallowing them.
The Australian recalls the extreme case of a 25-year-old smuggler arrested by South African police in 2012 after scans revealed 220 polished diamonds in his digestive tract worth about $2.3 million.
The man was stopped as he went through airport security in Johannesburg.