HYDERABAD: Wonder how meticulously smugglers work in order to go undetected as they smuggle chunks of gold across international borders? From the start, till the very end, if officials are to be believed, smugglers have mainly two modus operandi of transporting this gold, each with its own complex set of branches.
In the first leg of the smuggle, air passengers transport the gold via flights. At this stage, two separate methods are adopted by the sender. In one method, the passenger conceals the gold bars in his or her undergarments, luggage, shoes and other articles that they carrying along with their baggage.
The receivers in Hyderabad are responsible for monitoring the operation and the actual collection, toward which they deploy confidential persons right outside the RGI Airport.
If the plan operates in the second manner of things, passengers who have accepted commission from the original smugglers, carry the gold bars along with them during their journey. However, just before getting down from the flight, the passengers leave the smuggled gold under particular seats, of the flight toilets, of at the toilet in the airport premises, etc.
While in the first plan, the passengers can be identified by the customs officials during the scanner’s check, the second method becomes a little tricky.“It is the insiders—working as the housekeeping staff for several flights, cargo services and other business establishments—who shift the gold hidden in flights and toilets, to places from where they can be picked up by the smugglers. Ever since such incidents have come to light, we have started to keep a track of the regular activities of insiders and also their financial transactions,” explained a Customs official.
A case in point is one from June 2018, when a passenger landed with a gold bar at RGIA, travelling from Abu Dhabi on an Etihad airlines flight. The DRI officials detained the passenger and an employee of the airlines, for trying to smuggle the gold illegally. Taking a sharp note of insiders indulging in gold smuggling, the Customs and DRI officials have written to airline officials to take measures for proper training of their staff.