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JEWELLERY

Hong Kong police seek stolen $1.6 million ring

Hong Kong police said on Wednesday they were investigating the theft of a $1.6-million gem-encrusted ring reportedly left in a hotel washroom by co-president of Swiss jewellers Chopard.

“A female foreigner left an emerald ring valued at HK$12 million in the washroom on the fourth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong,” a police spokeswoman said.

“A few minutes later when she returned to look for the ring, it was gone.”

The South China Morning Post quoted an unidentified employee of Chopard as saying the ring belonged to Caroline Scheufele, the high-end jewellery maker’s co-president who was in Hong Kong to celebrate the opening of a new store.

Police would not confirm the identity of the ring’s owner, but announced that a reward of HK$500,000 had been offered by the victim for the return of the ring.

The ring was lost on September 8th around 11.30pm. Its disappearance has been classified as theft, police said.

It features a 16.83 carat emerald sitting between two diamonds of 1.15 and 1.29 carats, with another 674 small diamonds around the band.

Chopard Hong Kong and Four Seasons Hotel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hong Kong is also the centre of a dispute over the ownership of a 16-carat yellow diamond reportedly stolen from ultra high-end jeweller Graff Diamonds.

A Hong Kong pawnshop which bought the ring is fighting to keep the gem after the London jewellers claimed it was stolen from them five years ago.

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CHINA

China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as ‘political farce’

China on Tuesday blasted a democracy conference in Copenhagen attended by Taiwan's president and a Hong Kong activist alongside Danish government officials this week, qualifying it a "political farce".

China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as 'political farce'
Demonstrators gathered outside the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Tuesday. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held Monday and Tuesday in the Danish capital and organised by the Alliance of Democracies, an organisation targeted by Beijing sanctions in March and founded by former NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In addition to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also participated in the forum by video link, which Beijing said violated “the one-China principle.”

“This summit is a political farce,” the Chinese embassy in Denmark wrote in a statement published on Tuesday. “Inviting those who advocate Taiwan and Hong Kong ‘independence’ to the meeting violates the one-China principle and interferes in China’s internal affairs,” it said.

“Some hypocritical western politicians are good at meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and creating divisions and confrontation in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. They are bound to fail,” it added.

At the conference on Monday, Kofod said it was “deplorable” that Beijing had imposed sanctions on 10 European individuals and organisations in response to EU sanctions on Xinjiang officials over their actions against the Uyghur Muslim minority.

Like most countries, Denmark applies the one-China principle — under which Beijing bars other countries from having simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taipei — though it does maintain relations with Taiwan.

Cut off politically from the rest of China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the territory is self-governing but is not recognised by
the United Nations.

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province that will one day return under its control, by force if necessary.

China’s sabre-rattling has increased considerably over the past year, with fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers breaching Taiwan’s air defence zone on a near-daily basis.

“Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defence capabilities to protect our
democracy,” Tsai told the conference in a video address on Monday. US President Joe Biden is expected to present his China strategy soon, as
calls mount for him to publicly commit to defending Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.

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