A 58-year-old South African man was arrested after swallowing diamonds as police wanted to arrest him.

“Hamukwaya Eliakim appeared at the Strand Magistrate’s Court on Friday, facing a charge of illegal diamond dealing,” Hawks Captain Philani Nkwalase said in a statement.

Eliakim, a Namibian, was arrested during the sting operation after he allegedly swallowed the diamonds as officers approached him, said Nkwalase.

The operation was undertaken upon receiving information, Nkwalase told News24.

“This was a disruptive operation. It’s disruptive because you intercept something.”

Nkwalase described how the Hawks recovered the diamonds.

“Upon his arrest he then swallowed the diamonds and he was then admitted to hospital. He was scanned and objects were then identified in his torso.

“He was kept under guard and accompanied when he went to the toilet. The diamonds were successfully excreted from the body.”

Three carats of diamonds were recovered and Eliakim is expected to apply for bail on Thursday, April 18.

While Nkwalase could not confirm that the Hawks would oppose bail, he said that there was a risk that Eliakim could escape prosecution by fleeing to his home country.

“I suppose he would be a flight risk because he could go home and avoid prosecution.”

The Hawks have three main investigative divisions to tackle high priority crime: serious commercial crime, serious anti-corruption, and serious organised crime investigation.

“This matter falls under organised crime investigations,” Nkwalase explained.

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