Gold Diggers Find Outrageous Ways to Smuggle The Yellow Metal

Smugglers have been trying to sneak in yellow metal in all forms, from staple pins to microwave oven transformers.

3 min read
Seized gold bars are kept on display by Indian police officials at a police station in Ahmedabad. (Photo: Reuters)

The sight of glittering gold can tempt anyone. While some may let go of their temptations, there are others who are willing to go the extra mile, even dodge the law, to get their hands on the precious yellow metal.

As shocking as it may sound, gold smuggling in India is at an all-time high. The seizure in illicit trade has crossed Rs 1,000 crore mark in one financial year (2014-2015) with customs, police and revenue agencies seizing more than 3,500 kg of gold, a Times of India report said.

In 2012-13, the same figure stood at merely Rs 100 crore with just about 350 kilograms of gold seized.

According to a customs official at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi, gold smuggling has exponentially increased by almost 900% ever since the Government of India raised the import duty on the yellow metal from 8% to 15% earlier in 2014.

While some of smuggling attempts made by flyers have been dodgy, some have been downright foolish.

The Quint brings you five such outrageous attempts at gold smuggling in 2014. We are not making this up.

August 9, 2014: A total of approximately six kilograms of gold bars worth Rs 1.6 crore had been recovered from four different bathrooms at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. They were strapped under toilet seats with cello tape and the cleaning crew at the airport found the stash.

(Photo: iStockphotos)
(Photo: iStockphotos)

September 23, 2014: A passenger, who was trying to smuggle gold in the form of stapler pins was arrested and 755 gm gold worth Rs 20 lakh was recovered from him, a Hindustan Times report said. Unfortunately for the passengers, scanners can differentiate between steel and gold, which he didn’t know when he put his luggage for security check.

In another haul that very same day, the customs department found four unclaimed pieces of gold bars weighing about 448 gm wrapped in yellow paper from the wash room near international transfer check-in area at the IGI Airport.

November 9, 2014: A man coming from Dubai was arrested with 1.08 kg gold worth Rs 26 lakh hidden inside a microwave at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). A Hindustan Times report said that the gold was disguised as transformers in the microwave. An unusual reading on the X-ray scanner gave him away.

(Photo: iStockphotos)
(Photo: iStockphotos)

November 17, 2014: This month got even more interesting after two passengers coming from Dubai stuck a total of 1.6 kilogram of white gold under stickers which were pasted on their check-in luggage. However, the stickers were unusually thick and the custom officials spotted that with ease.

November 19, 2014: In this case, 2.9 kg unclaimed gold was recovered from an Air India flight, AI 301, from Sydney. The gold bars were concealed between a seat and its cover by the smuggler, who left it there for a contact to collect, as reported by The Indian Express.

But the aircraft, instead of operating in the domestic sector as scheduled, went back to Frankfurt and Sydney before coming back to India. The bars were found by the cleaning staff between the trips.

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