TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two more Chinese nationals believed to be members of the so-called “Pink Panda” gang in the theft of a large diamond at an exposition in Koto Ward, reports Nippon News Network (Jan. 27).
On Monday, Yang Fangzhang, 44, and one other Chinese national allegedly stole a diamond valued at around 3.4 million yen from a dealer at the International Jewelry Tokyo show at Tokyo Big Sight.
Prior to the theft, Yang requested that an employee at the booth show him “the big diamond” of a selection of stones lined up. While the employee was distracted by a request to see another item, Yang put the gem in his pocket.
“I thought it was a sample,” one of the suspects is quoted, according to TV Asahi (Jan. 27).
The suspects were apprehended by an officer on patrol after they departed the booth. “I wanted to go to the bathroom,” the suspect added.
Also on Monday, police arrested three other Chinese nationals for the theft of a ring valued at 2.8 million yen at last year’s show when they returned for this year’s event.
The Pink Panda gang, comprised of Chinese nationals, is known for repeatedly targeting shops in Japan and Europe. Members of the group typically steal valuable pieces of jewelry after distracting staff members.
They are known to switch fake jewelry for real items in making the thefts. According to police, Yang had a number of fake rings in his possession at the time of his arrest.