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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

£30m Diamond heist at Brussels Airport


Marine Cargo Insurance rates when handled through air are often the cheapest as it is perceived that the air carriers handle their cargo well and transportation is considered to the safest.  History repeats itself !!  ~ Robbers steal £32million worth of diamonds being loaded on to plane in meticulously planned armed heist at Brussels Airport

Around this time, ten years ago occurred what is dubbed as the "heist of the century", the Antwerp Diamond Heist, valued at more than $100 million. The heist took place during the weekend of February 15–16, 2003, in the Antwerp Diamond Centre, located in the centre of the gem district in Antwerp, Belgium.  It was later surpassed by the Schiphol Airport diamond heist in 2005-February-25 and estimated at $118 million. [approx 418 Crores]


Today, 19th Feb 2013, there is news that Belgian police are looking for eight masked gunmen who stole tens of millions of pounds worth of jewels from a security van that was loading the hold of a Switzerland-bound plane. The raid at Brussels airport reportedly happened just before 8pm on Monday. The heavily armed men drove through the airport security fence in two vehicles, a Mercedes van and a car, and made straight for a Brink's delivery van. The staff were loading safes full of diamonds on to a Swiss plane bound for Zurich. The gunmen quickly filled their vehicles with the boxes and fled through the same broken security barrier. No shots were fired. A burned-out van was later found nearby. The raid lasted just three minutes. The exact value of brute diamonds, believed to hail from Antwerp, was uncertain, but estimates put it at £30m ($50m). [approx 250 Crores]

The heavily armed men flashed their weapons and took the boxes of jewels from the hold of the plane.  The Swiss flight was cancelled and authorities were not able to explain the vulnerability of the place.   Some versions stated that the criminals were disguised as police and broke through a fence before breaking into the cargo of a Swiss-bound plane to take the gems, estimated to be worth $50m.  They escaped back through the same hole. Police later found a burned-out vehicle close to the airport. Earlier reports suggested the figure was even higher - with the Belgian state broadcaster reportedly putting it at 350m euros ($468m).

The cargo that went missing is stated to be "rough stones" being transported from Antwerp to Zurich. Antwerp is the hub of the world diamond trade - about 150m euros' worth of stones move in and out of the city every day, a spokeswomen is quoted as saying.  Not all the cargo but around 120 packages are reportedly taken away by the thieves.  Though the eight masked gunmen  were heavily armed, they did not have to fire a single shot; the gang which broke into the tarmac reportedly used fake police cars in their daring raid late yesterday, grabbed the cache of stones and sped off into the darkness.

with regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                          19th Feb 2013.
photos courtesy : www.dailymail.co.uk

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