Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mumbai International Airport: Air Intelligence Unit nabs 17 with Rs 4 crore contraband in 5 days

THE AIR Intelligence Unit (AIU) at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport intercepted 17 passengers and recovered gold, electronics and other contraband worth over Rs 4 crore between March 10 and March 15. In one of the biggest cases of gold smuggling involving foreign nationals in the recent past, AIU and CSI Airport officials intercepted six Chinese passengers on March 15, three of whom had arrived in Mumbai from Hong Kong on a Jet Airways flight and the rest from Beijing on an Air China flight. After a personal search of the six passengers, the AIU officials recovered crude gold chains with pendants depicting Buddha. The passengers were also wearing leather belts around their waist with buckles made of crude gold. Officials also seized gold plates depicting Tibetan deities. The entire seizure weighed 6.176 kg, valued at Rs 1,85,28,000.
“One of the Chinese nationals had just put his luggage in the screener. After the screening procedure, he bent to pick up his luggage and one of the officials spotted a heavy gold chain dangling from his neck and we became suspicious. We followed the individual to the arrivals waiting area and intercepted him. He told us that there were two more Chinese nationals carrying gold. Both were intercepted in the waiting area,” an AIU official told The Indian Express.
“We were then alerted about three more Chinese nationals coming by the next flight. We intercepted them and found them to be carrying gold as well. All six passengers knew each other,” the official added. According to the official, this trend of smuggling contraband, mainly gold, into the country has been on the rise in the recent past and several seizures have been made in 2017.
The passengers admitted to possession, carriage, concealment and recovery of the crude gold that was being smuggled into India by them without payment of proper customs duty and in contravention of the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. The six Chinese nationals, identified as Zhan Kun, Lihue Zhou, Zhang Liming, Yang Ween, Yang Binwei and Li Jianshu, have been arrested and further investigations are on.
Eleven other passengers were intercepted between March 10 and March 14 for carrying contraband. On March 10, AIU officials searched and recovered 305 grams of assorted jewellery worth Rs 9,40,925 from the person of Sri Lankan passenger Ajantha Nilandathi Mahramba Vithange. She had arrived from Colombo and was later booked by the customs department.
16/03/17 The Indian Express