Monday, September 11, 2023

20kg smuggled gold seized in 1 month at Kochi airport

Kochi: The Customs department has seized nearly 20kg of gold in the past one month foiling over 22 gold smuggling bids at the Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial).

Sleuths say that as opposed to professional rackets now even amateurs are pitching in money to smuggle small quantities of gold to make some quick bucks. According to sources, the smugglers make almost Rs 7 lakh profit when they manage to get 1kg gold past the Customs by evading Customs duty.

“Earlier, smuggling was the monopoly of certain rackets, now amateurs are also trying their luck by pooling in money for buying the gold. For instance, around 10 people working abroad would pitch in to make Rs 50 lakh required for buying the gold. There are people and agents readily available in the Gulf to provide them with gold, in whatever form they need, as long as they pay them the money,” said an official source.

The source added that most smugglers are bringing in gold under the value of Rs 50 lakh to avoid arrest.

“However, it is still a huge risk since if they get caught, they would get a show cause notice after a while. They would also face procedures like a search at their home. Then there is adjudication and penalty which would be huge. Also, there is the social stigma when the news gets out,” said an official.

Officials say the smugglers are trying out new strategies due to the strong surveillance at the airport. In the latest attempt, the smugglers used winding machines to insert copper coated gold coils into the motor of a functioning blender.

When the sleuths felt suspicious during the X-ray scanning, the carrier even claimed that he had bought it to prepare sadhya for Onam festivities and demanded immediate release.

“They are constantly finding such innovative methods. We were not able to detect the gold during the X-ray scanning. They used a winding machine to put the gold wires in the machine. It turned golden only when we heated it using a blow torch,” said an officer. He said not everyone tries rectal concealment.”

11/09/2023 Disney Tom/Times of India

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