Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gold smugglers devise new method to avoid detection

Mumbai: Smuggling of gold using a unique technique of mixing it with wax and soil, with women as carriers, are on the rise. Thirteen such cases were cracked by the Mumbai airport Custom’s air intelligence unit (AIU) last month.

Customs officials said they were surprised by the way, Shaikh Haseena, who arrived from Dubai by a Spicejet flight and was headed to Pune, had brought in the gold. “The modus operandi is new. The gold was first powdered and then mixed with a powder of iron and potassium. A solvent was added to the mixture to give it a semi-solid jelly-like form. This was packed in three plastic pouches and the woman had concealed them in her body,” an official said.

A goldsmith confirmed that the seized substance contained gold. “We are yet to ascertain the properties of the solvent,” the official said.

While in six cases, Indian passengers were caught carrying gold, five incidents involved passengers from West Asian countries, and in two cases, the passengers arrived from Colombo. These passengers used wax and even soil to conceal the gold using a method similar to the one adopted by Ms. Haseena.

Officials said assorted diamonds are also being smuggled. On March 24, Customs officials seized assorted diamonds, worth Rs. 6.63 crore, concealed in chocolate wrappers from the baggage of an Indian national flying to Dubai.
12/04/18 Aditya Anand/The Hindu