Lessons For Asia From Hatton Garden Heist

Joshua Rotbart is the managing director of Hong Kong based company Malca-Amit Precious Metals (MAPM). MAPM is the bullion procurement and bespoke services subsidiary of Malca-Amit Global logistic group. Malca-Amit group is one of the world's leading secure logistics service providers. They hold the largest capacity of storage of valuables in Asia and handle over 50% of the world's diamond transport.


Malca-Amit has developed a market leading network of vaults and offices throughout the globe with the notable locations of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Zurich, New York and London. Malca-Amit has a number of Investment and Private banks as its customer base as well as some of the world’s leading Diamond and Jewellery companies.

He is working closely with family offices, independent financial advisors and HNWIs to tailor the required solutions in a discreet and privacy sensitive manner.

Joshua gave Asian Wealth Times his views on the recent high profile robbery in London's Hatton Garden and some advice for Asian clients.

Jewelers Remain Jittery After Epic Hatton Garden Vault Robbery

The jewelry world is still reeling from the incredible Easter Weekend heist at London’s Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company, a crime estimated to have grabbed up to £200 million worth of mostly uninsured jewelry, gems and other goods from Hatton’s legendary subterranean vault.

The crime has even rattled the Cannes Film Festival, where security has been stepped up for the bling kept on hand to adorn stars as they walk the red carpet.

How Did Hatton Happen?

The Hatton Garden heist is astonishing not only for its audaciousness, but because the security systems in place seem not to have worked.

The vault was protected by closed-circuit security cameras and sensors, as well as metres-thick walls and doors. But news reports say that police opted not to respond to a motion sensor alarm apparently triggered by the thieves, and a security guard on site also failed to thoroughly check the vault after an alarm went off.

Staff were also on an extended holiday, which appears to have made the vault more vulnerable.

Police say a group of four to six people first broke in on April 2 at 9 p.m., staying until 8 a.m. the next morning. Police say they disabled a lift and climbed down the lift shaft. They then used a £3,500, diamond-tipped drill to bore through the vault’s two-metre-thick concrete wall. An alarm went off on April 3 at 12:21 a.m., police said.

The thieves returned to the vault on April 4, staying from 10:17 p.m. until 6:30 the next morning, Easter Sunday. They used angle grinders and crowbars to pry open 72 safe deposit boxes in the 999-box vault. Police aren’t sure why the thieves didn’t go after more of the boxes.

The theft was finally discovered only upon the return of staff to work on the morning of April 7th. Workers found the crowbars and angle grinders discarded on the vault floor, along with the remains of the deposit boxes and other debris.

Millions in gems lost

The extent of the tragedy at Hattons is compounded by the fact that much of what was taken was never listed anywhere, and as a result wasn’t covered by any form of insurance.

One jeweler said he lost more than 200 jewels worth nearly £500,000. That included a pair of diamonds worth £30,000 and another four-carat diamond worth £60,000.

At Cannes, the oceanfront Hotel Martinez has doubled the security for renowned jewelry enterprises Chopard and De Grisogono, which will each take up a floor with gems when the film festival opens on May 13.

The companies are also bringing their own guards -- making for an equal number of guests and security at the hotel.

Founded in 1954, Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd was one of the first companies in the UK to offer safe deposit boxes, according to its website. Its vault was built in 1949.

What’s to be learned?

This daring crime demonstrates the clear need for better storage solutions. Both individuals and companies must opt to store valuables in facilities that are:

  • Newly built
  • Liable for physical loss

Although liability insurance requires holdings to be reported, most of the facilities are privately owned and keep the information confidential. Choosing a firm with proven experience providing this highly specialized service doesn't hurt to either.







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