Mumbai Custom’s AIU keeps watch as passenger traffic peaks | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai Custom’s AIU keeps watch as passenger traffic peaks

As New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend, the leaves of AIU staff have been cancelled

mumbai Updated: Dec 31, 2017 00:40 IST
Pratik Salunke
Officers are set to be vigilant about exchange of gold during transit
Officers are set to be vigilant about exchange of gold during transit (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

pratik.salunke@hindustantimes.com

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs has upped its vigilance to keep a check on the smuggling of narcotics and gold into the city. According to sources in the AIU, smuggling syndicates often try to take advantage of the festive season, since passenger traffic at the airport is at its peak during this time.

“As New Year’s Eve will fall on a weekend, the leaves of AIU staff have been cancelled,” said an AIU officer. Both, the international and domestic airports will be under the scanner, and the officers will be vigilant about exchange of gold during transit.

Reportedly, smugglers will attempt to transport gold to the United Arab Emirates this week as gold jewellery in the country will be subject to 5% value-added tax (VAT) from January 1. According to sources, syndicates deploy carriers, generally youngsters, who are lured into smuggling with promises of free international travel and money. Several businessmen have also taken to smuggling because of the easy money.

AIU sources stated that in order to detect cases of gold smuggling, they resort to passenger profiling and frisk suspicious passengers. Some smugglers dodge the authorities by hiding the gold in their footwear, mobile phones, DVD players, suitcases, undergarments, clothes, and even internal body parts. Sometimes, an X-ray scan is carried out to detect the goods being smuggled.

To prevent narcotics from being smuggled into the city, certain routes will also be under the scanner.