Police in India arrest Dubai passenger who hid 1kg of gold in his body

The attempt was one of several recently to get gold past India's authorities to avoid an 18 per cent tax

Customs officials in India found almost 1kg of gold in a passenger, who landed in Kannur from Dubai. Courtesy: Cochin Commissionerate
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Police in southern India arrested an airline passenger from Dubai who concealed nearly a kilogram of gold in his body.

The passenger arrived at Kerala's Kannur airport on a GoAir flight with 972 grams of the flattened precious metal that he had inserted into his body.

Officials at the Air Intelligence Unit extracted the gold from the man, the state agency aid on Tuesday.

Another passenger on the same flight was caught carrying 1.47kg of gold, officials said. They did not disclose how that traveller had attempted to conceal the pounded metal.

The next day, the customs office seized 386g of gold from a passenger who landed in Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, on an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah.

Officials said the gold was hidden in the traveller's underwear in an attempt to avoid declaring it.

It was the seventh attempt at smuggling gold or foreign currencies into India from a Gulf state reported by Indian customs in Cochin this week, with gold also seized from a traveller flying in from Muscat on Sunday.

The goods and services tax on gold in India is 18 per cent, making smuggling the precious metal into the country profitable for illegal networks.

In recent months, police uncovered gangs and caught passengers trying to bring gold into the country.

Over the past week, several airports in India reported seizing gold between 300g and 3kg stuffed into capsules in paste form or lined in underwear.

In a major investigation by customs officials in Kerala, 30kg of gold worth Dh7 million ($1.9m) was seized after being found hidden in cylindrical locks this year.

UAE and Indian officials said they were working to trace the crime syndicate.

Customs officials said travellers returning to India often mask the gold in chocolate boxes, purses, umbrellas and pens to evade taxes.