The Air Intelligence Unit of Cochin Customs on Sunday seized red sanders, foreign and Indian currencies totally valued approximately Rs 24 lakh from three Chinese nationals at the Cochin International Airport.
The seized goods include 110-kg red sanders and US $17,000, Chinese Yuan 26,000 and Indian currency Rs 6,63,500.
The arrested Chinese citizens -- two men and a woman -- have been identified as Zheng Yibi, Li Jianzhou and Zhang Yuanyang.
All are from Fujian province in the Republic of China, said the Customs authorities. It is the first time that nationals of Chinese origin have been intercepted at Cochin International Airport.
It is also the first time that red sanders has been seized at the airport.
The Chinese citizens reported at the airport to board Malaysian Airlines flight MH-119 scheduled to fly for Malaysia at 12.50 am on Sunday. “Red sanders in small logs were found in four bags and were among the checked-in baggage while the currencies were found in their carry-on baggage,” Customs officials involved in the seizure operation said.
CIAL security staff operating the x-ray machines at the departure terminal noticed the prohibited goods in the bags. They immediately tipped off CISF and Customs personnel.
“As per the primary statement of the Chinese nationals, they were operating as carriers for a Delhi-based kingpin for a remuneration of `30,000 per consignment of about of 40 kg.
"The prohibited red sanders appeared to have been procured from Karnataka,” said S A S Navas, Deputy Commissioner of Air Intelligence Unit, who headed the operation.
The Customs team included Assistant Commissioner Amit Sharma, Superintendents Moideen Naina V A, Y Shahjahan, S Anil Babu, A X Vincent and inspectors Jyoti Mohan, K Sreekumar, Danish Agha and Vishal.