Watch: How passenger on Dubai-India flight concealed gold in fruit juicer

Customs officials in India found gold worth Dh167,700 inside the metal handle of the machine

Gold hidden inside the handle of a metal fruit juicer has been seized after it was smuggled into India illegally on a flight from Dubai. Photo: Hyderabad customs
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A man travelling from Dubai to India has been arrested on charges of smuggling gold, which he concealed in a juice extractor to avoid paying import tax.

The passenger hid 6.7 kilograms of gold inside the machine's handle and carried it in his hand luggage on an Air India flight on November 13.

Customs officials at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the Indian city of Hyderabad received a tip-off and intercepted the man.

He was arrested shortly after landing at 6.15am and gold worth about $45,000 was recovered.

A video posted on social media by the local customs office showed an angle grinder slicing through the machine’s metal handle to reveal a thick tube of solid gold.

A week later, authorities at the same Indian airport seized three gold bars weighing 3.5kg, worth about $22,000.

A woman travelling from Dubai on a flight operated by IndiGo, an Indian budget carrier, carried the gold in her hand luggage without declaring it to customs in Hyderabad.

Many passengers travelling on budget flights to India have been caught trying to smuggle gold in attempts to evade import duties on cash and precious metals.

As one of the major international importers and re-exporters of gold and precious stones, the UAE is a popular haven for traders and attracts smugglers hoping to maximise profits from resales.

There is no import duty or value-added tax on gold bars brought into the UAE, with no declaration required on cash or other financial instruments up to Dh100,000.

While there is no limit on the amount of gold that can be taken out of the UAE tax-free, India charges 10.75 per cent of the value of gold taken into the country.

In recent months, customs officials across airports in India have reported seizures of gold hidden in a variety of guises.

Border forces found gold concealed in the metal frame of luggage, music speakers, drinks containers and even gold paste worn underneath wigs and dentures.

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Updated: November 23, 2021, 1:46 PM