BEIJING: In a new case of arrests for alleged diamond smuggling, 19 diamond traders, most of them believed to be Indians, have been arrested by Chinese Customs authorities.
They are charged with smuggling around $49 million worth of diamonds into Shenzhen from Hong Kong. The diamonds were confiscated by the Chinese authorities, according to Indian media reports.
This is the second time Gujarati diamond traders have been arrested in China on smuggling charges. In January 2010, 21 Gujarati diamond traders were arrested on similar charges. Three of the traders arrested in January 2010 are still in jail.
The authorities raided several offices, polishing units and jewellery stores in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Shanghai, and made the arrests.
Diamond smuggling activities are relatively widespread since there is no duty on diamonds in Hong Kong, but there is a 4-percent duty in Mainland China.