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Gold seizures at the Mumbai airport highest in 15 years

Customs officials say they have already witnessed 500 attempts to smuggle in gold, and are well on track to overtake the previous yearly record of 1,000 interceptions of smugglers

Instances of gold smugglers getting caught at the Mumbai international airport are set to soar to a new high this year. The Air Intelligence Unit of Customs has registered 500 cases of gold seizures in the past six months i.e. from January to June. This rate is well ahead of the previous record haul which was seen more than 15 years ago.

Also read: Smuggler caught with Rs 25 lakh gold hidden in a magazine

NEW HIGH: AIU officials say the number of gold seizures may well cross the 1,000 mark this year
NEW HIGH: AIU officials say the number of gold seizures may well cross the 1,000 mark this year

Officials said they have seized 535 kg of gold in half a year — 323 kg being seized just between April and June. They are confident that the number of cases will surpass the previous annual record of 800 kg, which was seen in 1988-89.

Also read: 18 kg gold intercepted at Mumbai International Airport

Passengers disguise gold as buttons, hide them in chocolate wrappers and even inside their own bodies
Passengers disguise gold as buttons, hide them in chocolate wrappers and even inside their own bodies

Officers responsible for the seizure of the 323 kg will be given a letter of appreciation for their efforts. “Intercepting such a big amount is a huge achievement. Last year, from April to June, only 55 kg of gold was taken into custody. This year, it is nearly six times that number,” said a senior Customs official, adding that the number of cases could cross 1,000.

Also read: Customs seize gold worth Rs 6 cr hidden in soap bars

Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner, Customs, told mid-day, “We are sure that that smuggling will continue, there has been no decrease in the cost of gold in the budget presented by the government on Thursday.”

Where the gold is stashed
>> Car speakers
>> Shoes|
>> Chocolates
>> Coffee powder
>> Inside the rectum
>> Inside the mouth
>> Beneath the flight carpet
>> Bra hooks
>> Washrooms in planes
>> Shirt Buttons
>> Watch dials

Gold rush
>> On March 24 in the wee hours, AIU intercepted a family of seven, holding Mauritian passports, which had arrived in the city from Bangkok. They were caught with approximately 4.9 kg of gold, comprising 37 crude bangles and five crude kadas.

mid-day’s report on the family of smugglers
mid-day’s report on the family of smugglers

>> In early April, officials intercepted gold worth Rs 1.42 crore. Among these was a mother-daughter duo who had come from Bangkok and were hiding the gold under their dresses. Two others were caught with gold in their underwear, while a kilogram of gold bar was found inside the toilet of an Indigo flight.
>> 24 gold bars were seized from Poochakkad Abdul Azeez, who had arrived by an Air India flight (AI 984) from Dubai on January 9. The seized gold biscuits, weighing 2.8 kg were estimated to be worth R68,41,972. Azeez tried to hide 15 gold bars in an emergency light and nine in the battery section of the torchlight.

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