Indian airport officials seize gold worth $30,000 disguised as screws from Gulf passenger

Expensive suitcase intercepted at Hyderabad customs

Man tries to smuggle gold from Dubai as suitcase screws but gets busted

Man tries to smuggle gold from Dubai as suitcase screws but gets busted
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Indian airport customs officers seized $30,000 worth of gold disguised as screws holding together a suitcase allegedly belonging to a passenger coming from the Gulf.

Officers at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad uncovered the latest smuggling technique when they found metal screws and support rods for trolley wheels had been replaced with gold alternatives in an alleged attempt to avoid paying almost $4,000 in tax.

In a video shared by Indian media company ANI, the 64 screws and 16 rods recovered were shown to weigh 454g, more than 20 times the weight of gold that a passenger can import into India duty-free.

While the method of the alleged attempt at smuggling gold into Hyderabad may be unusual, the practice of passengers hoping to avoid paying government levy on gold is not uncommon.

In February, airport officials stopped 23 women, who had stopped off in Sharjah, travelling into the southern Indian city from Sudan

The passengers had almost 15kg of gold in their possession — either in their luggage or worn as jewellery — valued at almost $1 million.

The gold was seized and four of the women were arrested.

A month earlier, passenger profiling enabled officials to stop a man that travelled from Dubai to Hyderabad who customs officers said had hidden gold bars wrapped in plastic and attached to mobile phone cases.

The total haul weighed 583g and was worth around $37,000.

While gold exported from the UAE is tax-free, 10.75 per cent of the total value must be paid on gold imported into India.

Men can carry 20g of gold tax-free into the country, while women can take 40g duty free.

Updated: April 10, 2023, 2:19 PM