Dozens of pedestrians were caught in a scramble for tiny, sparkling objects littering a section of Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday night.
Many were seen bending over or squatting as they searched and picked up what they presumably thought were diamonds or precious stones that spilled on the pavement, Apple Daily reported.
A witness, surnamed Leung, shot the commotion on video, but decided not to participate in the mad rush for fear of getting arrested.
The incident happened outside Manson House on Nathan Road, opposite the Islamic Center, at around 8:40 p.m., with more than 50 people joining in the free-for-all, Leung said.
He said the participants included mainland tourists and a few South Asian-looking men.
Policemen later arrived to investigate. One officer said he believed the “diamonds” were more likely plastic beads.
“I didn’t pick any,” Leung said. “People should have learned the lesson of the Christmas Eve cash spill last year.”
He was referring to an incident last Christmas Eve when a cargo van operated by security firm G4S spilled bundles of banknotes worth more than HK$15 million on a busy road in Wan Chai, prompting a mad scramble for the cash.
At least eight people found to have picked up the banknotes were arrested.
Picking up other people’s cash and other assets is considered a crime of opportunity in violation of the Theft Ordinance in Hong Kong.
Offenders face a maximum jail of 10 years, lawyer Luk Wai-hung said.
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What those ‘diamonds’ on TST sidewalk really were