Bandage of gold stumps customs officials at KIA

Gold smugglers are devising ingenious ways in an  effort to hoodwink  customs  officials at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). Just last week, a 25-year-old man from Kodagu was caught carrying 400 gm of gold worth Rs 12.15 lakh concealed in a bandage wrapped around his ankles.

Mohammed Altaf had arrived from Sharjah by the Air Arabia flight G9-497 on October 30.

When sleuths of the customs'  air intelligence unit (AIU) scanned him with a hand-held metal detector, beeps started emanating from his ankles. Altaf explained that he had applied some Ayurvedic medicine for leg pain and refused to remove the bandage.

The sleuths didn't believe him and got the bandage removed.  A dark paste with a medicine-like smell greeted them. Further  questioning and examination led them to conclude that the paste  was composed of  shiny particles. They got  it tested in the  laboratory. The  findings were startling: gold  powder had been mixed with some chemical, glue or paste.

Refining the powder  led to the recovery of  400.36 gm of gold.

"The smuggler had mixed the gold powder with gum and chemicals wrapped in green plastic. He then draped a bandage on both the ankles," Harsh Vardhan Umre, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Bengaluru Customs, told DH.  

He added: "This is a new modus operandi of gold smuggling. Considering the strict vigil by the customs, smugglers are devising unique ways to bring in gold, but our men have succeeded in outsmarting them."

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