Gold smugglers may use bogus carriers to fool customs detectives in Kerala – The New Indian Express

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Of Express Message Service

MALAPPURAM: As airport customs become more vigilant, smugglers are adopting innovative ways to stay one step ahead of authorities. Gone are the days when gold was smuggled as bars or cookies. Now wearers hide the yellow metal in capsules or electronic devices, officials said. Some even turn the metal into a paste and wrap it in shoes, clothing, and even wigs.

But with seizures soaring, officials suspect smugglers are now using “dummy carriers” to distract their attention. On Saturday, the Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) at Kozhikode Airport took custody of a Wayanad native on a tip. When officers spied on him, the youth confessed that he had gold in capsules in his body.

However, when officers retrieved the contraband, all they found were empty capsules. The suspected customs smugglers had used him as a dummy to divert their attention. The real porter would have managed to sneak out while officers were busy grilling it. A senior official said the AIU had launched an investigation into the incident.

Customs detained Ijazul Hak Pullambi of Pandikkadavu at 6:40 pm based on a tip received through an anonymous phone call. The caller said Ijazul who arrived from Sharjah had gold with him. Officers later recovered four capsules from him. Upon examination, they found that the capsules contained no gold compound.

This unusual seizure has led officials to believe that Ijazul was being used to fool them. Officials suspect he was a scapegoat, used to divert their attention from other gold carriers who may have landed in Kozhikode on the same flight.

“He may have turned himself in on purpose”

Another possibility is that Ijazul was trying to dupe not only her but the gold smuggling gang as well, officials said.

“Certain facts made us suspicious. We got the notice at 6.40pm even though the flight had arrived at 6.15pm. Ijazul had enough time to leave the airport when he was cleared by the Door Frame Metal Detector (DFMD). . It looked like he was waiting for us to catch him. When we questioned him, he immediately admitted that he had gold in his gut. But the capsules did not contain any gold compound,” said a senior AIU official.

Ijazul may have turned himself in on purpose, the official said.

“When we questioned him, he told us he was forced to carry the gold for a gang of smugglers and was beaten up when he refused. He also said he was offered 50,000 rupees to smuggle the gold through the airport. But we suspect he was acting as a cover for other airlines. Or the middleman of that operation and Ijazul were trying to deceive the investors,” the official said. The customs team said it would examine the capsules to determine if they were some form of drug.

Full-body scanners are to be set up at the airport in six months

A customs officer tells The New Indian Express that they will set up a full-body scanner at the airport within six months. This will help customs catch smugglers hiding gold in their bowels. The machine can identify the gold hidden in the body.

We are currently screening passengers using the door frame metal detector. “We also select passengers with suspicious behavior and a history of smuggling for special screening and subject them to a body X-ray scan. The x-ray scan detects gold in composite form even if it is hidden in the body. The DFMD and the search cannot determine this,” the official said.

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