Twelve Indian diamond traders arrived in Mumbai early Friday in the wake of being released from China after being detained for allegedly smuggling about $7.3 million in diamonds. Relatives of the traders and representatives of the Surat Diamond Merchants Association, which had advocated for the release of the merchants, were at the airport to welcome them home.
In all, 22 Indian nationals, mostly from Surat and Mumbai, were arrested by Shenzhen Customs officials in January 2010 for allegedly smuggling diamonds from Hong Kong to China. A Chinese court ordered the release of 13 of the 22 jailed merchants, but sentenced the remainder to serve prison terms of between three to six years. One trader is appealing the ruling.