Friday, August 11, 2017

Small is big for Tamil Nadu’s new-age gold smugglers

Chennai: "Little drops make the mighty ocean" goes the popular saying and gold smugglers in Tamil Nadu seem to living that truth.
While the focus of intelligence officials is on detecting large quantities of concealed gold, innocuous carriers are bringing in gold in piecemeal quantities — as little as 60 grams — from Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
Sources say smugglers are hedging their bets on a large number of couriers carrying small quantities of gold, rather than a few carrying bigger consignments which are difficult to conceal. At times, there can be as many as 25 to 40 kurivis on a flight. With vigilance up at Chennai airport, smugglers have moved to smaller facilities like Trichy and Madurai from where daily flights to Singapore and Malaysia are available, a senior official said. Low-cost airlines like Air Asia, Air India Express, Indigo and Scoot Airlines are the preferred choice of carriers, sources said.
The two-way fare to Singapore from Trichy is more by a few thousand rupees than the fare from Chennai, and sources say around 1,000kg of gold could be smuggled undetected in one month through an airport as more than 300 carriers operate through every airport on a daily basis. On an average, a carrier makes five to 10 trips a month.
11/08/17 Siddharth Prabhakar & D Vincent Arockiaraj/Times of India