BANGKOK • A Chinese woman who allegedly tried to smuggle a stolen diamond out of Thailand by swallowing it has been released from hospital after doctors removed the expensive gem from her gut.
Police say the 39-year-old unnamed woman, who appeared in court yesterday, switched the 10 million baht (S$392,000) gem with a fake one at a jewellery fair on the outskirts of Bangkok last Thursday.
She then tried to flee Thailand undetected by ingesting the gem.
Investigators caught up with her as she tried to fly out of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, and an X-ray showed the diamond lodged in her gut.
A 33-year-old Chinese man who she was travelling with was also arrested.
Police said neither time nor laxatives could dislodge the gem and, on Sunday, doctors were called in to remove the stone.
"She is leaving the hospital - she is fine now," Police Colonel Mana Tienmuangpak, lead investigator on the case, said yesterday.
He added that the woman would be taken to Nonthaburi Provincial Court, which would then decide whether she will be remanded in custody as the police continue their investigations.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Anchulee Theerawongpaisal, a spokesman for the Police General Hospital where the woman was treated, said doctors used a colonoscope and instruments to remove the gem from her lower intestine.
"It took 12 minutes to extract it," she said. "It's a normal surgical procedure, except this time, there was a 10 million baht diamond involved."