Three Chinese men with ‘Midas touch’ arrested for smuggling gold
From a bunch of keys to belt buckles, screws used to assemble a trolley bag, jewellery and souvenirs, almost everything that three Chinese nationals were carrying when they reached the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) Friday turned out to be gold.
Customs officials sifted through their belongings to make a seizure of gold worth Rs1.42 crore that was allegedly smuggled into the country. The three men were arrested the same day.
According to customs officials, the three Chinese men, aged 34, 61 and 63 years, arrived at Terminal 3 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, via Hong Kong.
“Their route raised suspicions and, on the basis of passenger profiling, our team intercepted them and asked them to cooperate for a detailed search. While frisking them, we found that souvenirs and some jewellery they were wearing were of gold. Their belt buckles and a bunch of keys also turned out to be gold. Further, on checking their luggage, we found all the screws used to assemble the trolley bag were also made of gold. The total recovered gold is about 4kg,” an officer, who did not wish to be named, said.
The officer said the three men could not provide any satisfactory information regarding the gold being brought into India. Additional commissioner (customs) Amandeep Singh said the recovered gold was seized and the three men were arrested.
In another incident, the customs arrested a 21-year-old Afghani who arrived in Delhi from Kabul and was allegedly trying to smuggle in two gold bars after hiding them in his shoes Sunday.
“He was intercepted after he crossed the green channel and on checking, two gold bars, weighing 3.09kg was recovered from his shoes. The value of the recovered gold is Rs1.07 crore. On inquiry, he said he works at a travel agency in Kabul and had come to Delhi regarding his dry fruits business. The man was arrested and the gold seized,” the officer said.
Customs officials said in all above cases, it was found that the arrested men were carriers and were being paid to carry the gold and hand it over to an Indian contact.
“Efforts to trace their contacts in India are being made,” the officer said.