In New York, the FBI has been called in to investigate a crime wave in the diamond industry.
GV New York's 47th Street and diamond dealers' offices (2 shots)
GV & SV Jewellers shops and displays of diamonds (2 shots)
SV Jeweller's shop sign DOWN TO People in street (5 shots)
CU Newsagent speaking to reporter
GV ZOOM IN Police walking along street
SV People looking in shop windows
MARTIN: "This is an extraordinary street, despite the rain and the gloom, it's the centre of the world's diamond industry. The precious gems leave the mines, mostly in South Africa, and go to London markets where they're sold, uncut, at fixed prices. That's where New York merchants buy them and bring them back here to 47th Street. to be cut in upstairs and back rooms. These display cases are like the tip of some fabulous diamond iceberg, because the value of top quality gems has soared almost 50 per cent in the last two years -- a fact that's not been lost on investors or on thieves. According to the FBI six diamond dealers have been murdered in the last three years -- apparently with million dollar robbery as the motive. The New York industry is dominated by Jewish merchants and easily the most conspicuous are the Chassidic Jews -- strictly Orthodox, men who act mainly as the street brokers. Up till now the gem merchants here have had little need for armed escorts or guns as they move up and down their block. But the mood is changing. It's a tightly-knit and secretive business -- there's deep suspicion of outsiders and of publicity. And now, there's also the fear of robbery and violence. But still the diamond dealers don't want to talk about it."
MARTIN: "What sort of reaction are you finding?"
NEWSAGENT: "....end of the block..."
MARTIN: "What sort of reaction?"
NEWSAGENT: "Oh the people are all very apprehensive around here with these stories going around--that's about it. They don't want to talk about it. They won't even talk to the TV cameras request--they don't want to spread you know and stuff like that."
MARTIN: "You find them coming down here and getting their paper and mentioning here it is once again on the front pages?"
NEWSAGENT: "Yeah, oh yeah, and they don't like it."
MARTIN: "New York police suspect these sudden crime waves have been the result of inside jobs -- arranged by people who work inside the diamond industry -- many of them newcomers. They believe that the robberies may be related. But the police also say that they're not getting much co-operation, that it's a closed industry and a mysterious, closed community."
The latest death was that of Pinchos Jaroslawicz last month. It's said he was kidnapped by two masked men and later murdered. The incident has caused fear and speculation among other dealers.
REPORTER: RAY MARTIN
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Background: In New York, the FBI has been called in to investigate a crime wave in the diamond industry. At least four million US. dollars worth of gems have disappeared in recent months and a number of dealers have been murdered. Ray Martin of the Australian Broadcasting Commission reports.