Gold found inside chocolate, purse handles at Mumbai airport

Apr 07, 2018, 16:28 IST | Suraj Ojha

Some passengers came up with unique ways to smuggle gold through airlines, and the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) managed to seize Rs 107 crore worth of the metal in 2017

Air Intelligence Unit officers caught passengers trying to smuggle in gold inside purse handles
Air Intelligence Unit officers caught passengers trying to smuggle in gold inside purse handles

Some passengers came up with unique ways to smuggle gold through airlines, and the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) managed to seize R107 crore worth of the metal in 2017. It also arrested 178 Indians and 49 foreigners. Most of them had arrived from Dubai, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Most popular method
AIU officers found that the most popular, and successful, method was the carrier using connecting flights. In this, a passenger (carrier) who arrives from overseas, moves to the domestic section within the airport for another location, and, in between, hands over the gold to another passenger already waiting there. Many times, airline crew members were also found involved, an officer said.

Varied MO
Another method was concealing gold or diamonds in chocolate wrappers. Recently, an Indian, Saleem Basha, was caught with diamonds worth Rs 6 crore concealed in chocolate wrappers and mixed with chocolates. A new method was revealed when a Korean, Kim Youngjin, was found with 15 kg gold worth Rs 4 crore concealed in specially made pockets in his jacket.

Another unique method officials found was that gold was smuggled in the form of wires. This was revealed after a passenger, Kandathil Mohamed Rafi, who'd come from Dubai, was intercepted and a search of his checked-in baggage showed gold wires coated with copper weighing 587 g, worth Rs 17.32 lakh. The wires were stitched into embroidered fabrics.

Drugs seized too
Apart from gold, drugs smuggled in a special briefcase were also seized by AIU. A total of R9.43 crore worth narcotics were seized in 2017.

860
No. of cases reported in 2017

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