Passengers found with smuggled gold worth $74,000 on Dubai-to-India flights

Travellers hide precious metal to evade import duties

Mumbai customs intercepted 24 carat crude gold rods from an Indian passenger arriving from Dubai. Photo: Mumbai Customs
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Two passengers travelling between Dubai and India have been arrested for smuggling gold in separate incidents in an attempt to dodge import tax.

Airport authorities in Mumbai intercepted an Indian passenger who arrived on a flight from Dubai on Thursday, July 22.

Customs officers recovered 24 gold rods weighing 348 grams hidden inside a speaker and luggage carried by the passenger.

The gold was valued at about $20,000 and would have attracted an import duty of 10.75 per cent if declared.

Two days earlier, Chennai Air Customs recovered a stash of gold that was hidden inside a passenger on an Emirates flight from Dubai.

The 810g, worth about $54,000, was concealed in four bundles of gold paste and smuggled into India. The passenger was arrested on July 20.

July has been a busy month for Indian airport authorities.

On July 14, a passenger was arrested at Delhi airport after gold was found illegally concealed inside a mobile phone to avoid payment of import duties.

The Indian passenger was intercepted shortly after landing on an Emirates flight and found to have hidden 623g of gold worth more than $35,500.

Further investigation by Delhi Airport Customs led to the passenger admitting he had previously smuggled 730g of gold into the country from Dubai. He was later arrested.

While there is no limit on the amount of tax-free gold a person can export from the UAE, India has clear rules on importing precious metals.

Men can import up to 20g of gold worth not more than 50,000 rupees ($671) duty-free. Female passengers are allowed to bring in 40g of gold worth not more than 100,000 rupees without paying tax.

Travellers who want to bring more gold into India must declare it on arrival at border control and pay import duty.

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Updated: July 25, 2021, 10:56 AM