Central, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps

Three men visiting Hong Kong from Colombia have been arrested after a smash-and-grab jewel theft that took place in the Central business district on Hong Kong Island on Monday.

At 11am, three men wearing caps and face masks approached a jewelry shop on Wellington Street in Central, and two of them used hammers and to smash the outside display windows, Oriental Daily reported.

The men snatched jewelry worth around HK$40 million (US$5 million) and fled toward Lan Kwai Fong. It was understood that the whole operation only took around 10 seconds.

A 57-year-old male shop owner immediately called the police.

One of the suspects was arrested when he posed as a customer and entered a camera shop on Jubilee Street after the heist. Police say they recovered most of the stolen jewelry from the suspect.

Police say they also found two hammers, jackets, caps and face masks in nearby alleys.

The other two suspects, aged 38 and 45, were nabbed that evening when they tried to flee Hong Kong through the Shenzhen Bay Port border area, but no stolen property was found on them, Sing Tao Daily reported.

Police said the three suspects held tourist visas from Colombia.

Read: Police hunt three thieves after smash-and-grab heist

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