Three women passengers, who had arrived from Bangkok on Tuesday night, were intercepted by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai airport for allegedly trying to smuggle gold in their sandals.
According to Customs officers, the women knew each other and landed in the city late on Tuesday. They were stopped on the basis of suspicion, said sources. A search revealed the pieces of gold were concealed in their sandals, they added.
The officials said they seized four cut pieces of gold bars that weighed around 885 grams and valued at approximately Rs22.38 lakh from one Kanta Nari Ramchandani, who holds an Indian passport.
Also, six cut pieces of gold bars, weighing around 748 grams and valued at approximately Rs18.91 lakh, was recovered from Nitu Jugnu Kithani. Five cut pieces of gold bars, weighing around 668 grams and valued at Rs16.89 lakh, was recovered from Sunita Nanikram Sachdev.
“There have been many cases of gold seizures from passengers arriving from Dubai and so the focus of smugglers has changed to Bangkok. The women, who were intercepted, are frequent flyers. Though they said this is the first time for them, we are looking into the matter,” said a Customs officer.
Passengers devise a number of methods to smuggle gold out of the airport, which includes concealing it in footwear, mobile phones, DVD players, suitcases, undergarments and clothes.