Sunday, June 27, 2021

Spurt in gold smuggling via Kochi airport as 10.5 kg consignment seized in a week

Kochi: After a brief lull, gold smugglers have swung into action with nine smuggling attempts thwarted at Kochi airport in a week. Gold has started flowing in as flight services became operational after the second wave of COVID.

Across Kerala, smuggling attempts have increased but the most number of smugglers were intercepted in Kozhikode and Kochi airports.

In Kochi airport, nine persons were intercepted and 10.5 kg of gold was seized in a week’s time. In the last three days, as many as six persons were intercepted both by Customs and DRI officials. "Only isolated incidents of gold smuggling were reported last month as only a few international flights were operating. However, with international flight services becoming fully operational last week, smuggling attempts have rapidly increased. Now, daily two to three attempts are being reported. On Thursday alone five passengers who arrived from Gulf countries were intercepted for smuggling gold," a Customs official at Kochi airport said.

Another Customs officer said that five gold smuggling attempts were detected in a single flight that arrived at Kozhikode airport on June 22. "From an Air India Express flight that landed at Kozhikode, gold weighing 7.8 kg was seized from three persons. Two of them were carrying gold weighing more than one kg each. It shows that smugglers are desperate to bring in gold after the lockdown. More cases are being reported from Kochi and Kozhikode airports. With checking intensified at these airports, smuggling activities will rise in Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur airports soon," a top official of Customs Preventive Headquarters in Kochi said.

27/06/21 Toby Antony/New Indian Express

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