Smugglers caught with more than $88k worth of gold on flight from Dubai

Customs officials discover 10 gold paste bundles hidden inside three passengers arriving in Chennai

FILE PHOTO: A security guard places several one kilo gold bars inside a secured vault in Dubai April 20, 2006./File Photo
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Customs officers in India seized almost $88,800 (Dh326,000) worth of gold smuggled inside three passengers arriving on a flight from Dubai.

Officials in Chennai reported the haul on Monday evening.

Gold weighing 1.41 kilograms and concealed in 10 bundles of paste were hidden inside the bodies  of three passengers. Police made two arrests in connection with the discovery.

Smugglers often convert the precious metal to gold paste because it is easier to conceal than solid gold.

The process involves melting pure gold at high temperatures with impurities added before the solution is converted into a paste.

Once the paste arrives at the intended destination, usually hidden inside a passenger's stomach, criminals use a chemical process to return it to powder form so it can be washed and the gold particles extracted.

The entire process takes up to 12 hours to complete.

Detecting gold paste is particularly challenging for airport scanners and customs officials, but it has become a well-known practice in India.

In October 2020, police in southern India arrested an airline passenger from Dubai who attempted to smuggle nearly a kilogram of gold out of the country.

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.

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