Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza: children caught up in the conflict

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Was the UN chief’s speech in Tel Aviv really a 'shameful message'?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

  • Paris braced for new pro-Palestinian rally after clashes

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Netherlands honours MH17 victims in day of mourning

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Kerry arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

Europe

Belgian police hunt $50 million diamond heist gang

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-19

Police in Belgium on Tuesday were hunting eight men thought to be responsible for a multi-million dollar diamond heist at Brussels international airport a day earlier. The armed and masked men stole the jewels from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane.

Police on Tuesday were looking for eight men who made a hole in a security fence of Brussels’ international airport, drove onto the tarmac and robbed tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane.

Brussels prosecutor’s spokeswoman Anja Bijnens said Tuesday the armed and masked men used two vehicles in their daring Monday raid and within minutes made their way to the plane, took the cache of stones and drove off into the darkness.

Police found a burnt-out vehicle close to the airport later Monday night but said it was still looking for clues.

The heist was estimated at some 50 million dollars in diamonds, said Caroline De Wolf of the Antwerp World diamond Centre.

‘’What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum,” De Wolf told VRT network.

An airport spokesman says the robbers made a hole in the perimeter fence, and drove right up to the Swiss passenger plane that was ready to leave. The robbers got out of the car, flashed their arms and took the loot from the hold, airport spokesman Jan Van Der Crujsse said. Without firing a shot they drove off through the same hole in the fence, completing the spectacular theft within minutes, he said.

Van Der Crujsse could not explain how the area could be so vulnerable to theft. ‘’We abide by the most stringent rules,” he said.

The Swiss flight, operated by Helvetic Airways, was canceled after the robbery. Swiss, an affiliate of Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG, declined to comment on the heist, citing the ongoing judicial investigation.

The insurance for air transport - handled sometimes by airlines themselves or external insurance companies - is usually relatively cheap because it’s considered to be the safest way of transporting small high value items, logistics experts say.

Unlike a car or a truck, an airplane cannot be attacked by robbers once it’s one its way, and it is considered to be very safe before the departure and after the plane’s arrival because the aircraft is always within the confines of an airport - which are normally highly secured.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-02-19

COMMENT(S)