Smugglers Caught With Gold In All The Wrong Places
(Kitco News) - Indian border agents confiscated more than $46,000 worth of gold at an airport in the southern part of the country after at least 37 passengers tried to smuggle gold from Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Twenty-nine of those people were attempting to smuggle the precious metal in their rectums, while others hid it in their hand-luggage or children’s pushchairs.
Those involved in the illegal operation flew in on two flights from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and landed at India’s Madurai international airport in Tamil Nadu.
“The uniqueness of this case is that huge numbers of people concealed the gold in their rectums,” The Guardian quoted a spokesman for the India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) as saying. “Rectum concealment by this many guys is a first.”
The smuggled gold weighted more than 10kg (22lb) and was in the form of nuggets.
The DRI, law enforcement agency that caught the passengers, said smugglers used “ingenious way of concealment.”
No any arrests were made since none of the individuals were in possession of enough to be charged. The most each individual had was 600 grams.
The “rectal concealment” was discovered only after a “thorough examination,” according to the DRI.
While original in the method, this was not the biggest gold smuggling case to be discovered in India. In 2015, authorities uncovered three planeloads of passengers attempting to bring in 64kg (141lb) worth of gold.
India is the second largest importer of gold after China, with gold smuggling operations on the rise. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, the DRI confiscated around 560kg of illegally smuggled gold, while arresting 188 people.
In the end of September, Reuters reported that the country might see a surge in gold smuggling cases as festival season nears, citing individuals wanting to forego paying a new sales tax introduced by authorities on July 1.
“The new rule is turning out to be counterproductive. Instead of giving required details, customers are buying without proper receipts to save tax,” Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, told Reuters.
“Jewellers are buying smuggled gold at discount in cash, then making jewelry and selling it to consumers without receipts,” added Daman Prakash Rathod, director at India’s wholesaler MNC Bullion.
This is not the first time bum-smuggled gold has made international headlines. Last year an employee for the Royal Canadian Mint was caught after he smuggled 18 gold-shaped pucks valued at $180,000 in his rectum. The man was sentenced to 30-months in prison.