Over 50 pedestrians were seen scrambling around on the pavement in Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday evening, on a quest to retrieve what they believed were diamonds.

The incident took place on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui at around 8:40pm. Small, shiny objects suddenly rained from above, scattering all over the ground. A woman reportedly yelled in Mandarin: “Diamonds!”

People rushed on to the street, including a man handing out flyers and a group of tourists who had just finished their meal nearby. At the height of the bedlam, there were over 50 people crouched on the floor searching, eyewitnesses said.

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Pedestrians trying to find the diamonds.

Some showed off their spoils to reporters, although most said they were not sure if they were really diamonds. However, none of them said they intended to hand over their haul to police.

Around half an hour later, most of the “diamond hunters” left, though no one showed up to claim the objects. The police, who sent officers to the scene to investigate, picked up a piece and believed it to be made of plastic. However, a jewellery store said that, after an inspection on Thursday, the rocks were most likely ordinary “gems”, Oriental Daily reported.

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The alleged “diamonds”.

Eyewitness Mr Leung told Apple Daily that – at first – there were only dozens of people, but more and more joined in. He also said that he believed most of them were mainland tourists. “Some of the ‘damas’ [Chinese singing aunties] managed to wind up with a handful, and left once they were done.”

He also said that, as some of the diamonds were stuck in the gaps of the pavement, people had to use all kinds of methods to retrieve them, such as picking them out with a pen or trying to stick them on to their palms. Leung said that he did not take part in the hunt, because “Hongkongers should have learned their lesson,” referring to an incident last Christmas Eve when pedestrians grabbed armfuls of cash that spilled out of a transport van and took off. Many who tried to take the money were later arrested, and imprisoned and fined.

The police said that, should anyone come across property of others, it should be handed over immediately.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.