After the gold import restrictions and heavy import duty by India on gold, we’ve seen a massive increase in gold smuggling. Here are some innovative ways smugglers have found to get gold in without paying duty - but note that these are only those that got caught.
Gold bar kept under passenger seat on India bound flight that has an onward journey (like Dubai-Mangalore-Mumbai). Accomplice occupies the same seat on the onward journey and then isn’t checked because domestic arrivals aren’t checked by customs. This was done 30 times! (Tulunadu news)
Stuffed into underwear by a woman, as couples are not inspected in detail. (Tulunadu news)
In Packets of Mehndi, which is decorative powder. Gold powder was mixed in. (Hindu Business Line)
Gold bar in a pocket of a sandal worn by the passenger. (NewsKarnataka)
As Date seeds in a large consignment of dates - the gold was put inside the dates! Also, in chairs, with springs made of gold. (Times of India)
As a belt buckle. And as gold rods inside a hair styling crimper set. (Daijiworld)
As gold staple pins. (Dailymail)
Gold wires in trolley bag linings (Times of India)
In enamelled eight bangles weighing nearly 2.5 kg! (Times of India)
As part of a rechargeable battery in an emergency light. They replaced four of the eight plates with gold, so the light would actually function! (Hindustan Times)
For all those that were caught, there must have been thousands that got away. It’s impossible to stop this menace and soon, there will be the sea routes, and guns and mafia. It is better to remove this duty altogether, before we create a monster we can’t stop.
Oh, and it doesn’t really help when the incentives are this good:
The smugglers are paid air tickets plus Rs 20,000 as commission for each trip. As the carrier can not be arrested unless the seized gold's value is above Rs 25 lakh, the gangs are bringing in a calculated quantity through each member and even if it is seized in some cases, they are paying the penalty and getting it released," a customs official said.
For each kilo of gold smuggled from Dubai, the operator gets about Rs 3 to 4 lakh profit.
No wonder they’ll smuggle it in any which way they can. But do you know more? Please post a link too! We’ll keep this blog post alive.