Gold Smuggling On Rise, 10.409 Kg Seized In 8 Months

A passenger who had come to Kathmandu from Saudi Arabia was arrested along with smuggled gold at the airport in Kathmandu on August 5. Rishabh Mahato, 24, of Dhangadhimai Municipality-8 of Siraha was caught in the parking lot of Tribhuvan International Airport.

Police recovered 474 grams of gold from him along with eight bangles and two rings that he brought from Jazira Airlines. Airport security police said that Mahato was arrested after his activities in the new parking area of ​​the airport became suspicious.
Legally, those who come from abroad can bring up to 100 grams of gold without paying customs duty. As soon as he came out of the airport, he had been handcuffed. Police nabbed him and handed him over to the airport customs office for further investigation and action.

The market value of the gold recovered from him is around Rs 3.73 million. The airport customs office is investigating against him. Earlier, 1 kg 165 grams of gold was recovered from Padam Pariyar of Gorkha who came to Kathmandu from Dubai on July 27. He landed at the TIA at around 10 am from the Himalayan Airlines. During the customs inspection, his suitcase was found suspicious on X-ray.
Police and customs officials then found gold in a coffee machine. There were three layers inside the coffee machine and the gold was hidden in the middle of the coffee machine.
Senior Superintendent of Police and chief of Airport Security Office Rajesh Nath Bastola said that international flights to Nepal were closed for a long time due to the risk of coronavirus infection. “Taking advantage of these causes, the smugglers might have been adopting various modus operandi to clear the gold,” he said.

According to Bastola, most of the gold is imported from Dubai. There are also sporadic illegal arrivals from other countries. Despite the increase in gold seizures, gold smugglers have not stopped importing gold.
Smugglers use new methods to bring gold. Rajiv Lama of Kavrepalanchok, who came from Dubai on February 14, 2020, had brought 600 grams of gold keeping it inside a torchlight.
Lama, who came along with his hand carry suitcase via Fly Dubai, came under suspicion during an X-ray check at the customs. The torchlight inside the suitcase contained chocolate-shaped gold.

Sandeep Tamang from Dhading, who came from Dubai on April 26, 2021, had brought a table fan. But the purpose of bringing the fan was different. Airport police recovered the gold after finding it fitted in a fan.
He, who came by Nepal Airlines, was also caught during a customs check at the airport. A false bottom was found inside the table fan and speaker and 861.82 grams of gold was found.
Thirty-six people have so far been arrested in the last eight months from the TIA on charge of bringing illegal gold since December 26, 2020. Among the arrested are two women.
SSP Bastola said that most of the agents do collect gold items smuggled making various shapes after Nepali migrants came out of the airport passing the security check.

Over Rs. 80m worth of gold seized in 8 months According to the airport customs office, 10 kg 409 grams of gold had been recovered from the TIA alone in the last eight months. The seized gold weighed from 50 grams to 1,165 grams. According to the then market price, gold worth Rs. 80,568,841 was recovered.
According to the Customs Act, anyone bri nging gold worth up to Rs. 1 million will not be detained but they can be released after paying the bail amount.

According to the law, the amount of goods recovered is equal to the amount of fine. Those who evade customs from Rs. 1 million to Rs 2.5 million will be fined and imprisoned for a maximum of one month.
Those who evade customs from Rs. 2.5 million to Rs. 5 million are fined and imprisoned for three months. The customs office can imprison anyone smuggling gold from Rs. 5 up to Rs. 10 million for one year.
However, cases about gold worth above Rs. 10 million cannot be decided by the customs office alone. Such cases should be taken to court.
If he/she is not satisfied with the decision of the customs office, the accused can appeal to the revenue tribunal. The tribunal may reconsider the customs decision. There is a provision to appeal in case of more than Rs. 10 million directly to the district court and to the high court if the decision of the district court is not agreeable.

According to SSP Bastola, only Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) can bring gold to Nepal for commercial purposes. NRB has given the responsibility of purchasing gold to commercial banks. Commercial banks can buy only 20 kg of gold daily. And, gold traders buy gold through commercial banks. Buying and selling outside of this is considered illegal.
Laxmi Prasad Niraula, chief of the airport customs office, said that the seized smuggled gold would be bought by the NRB. The recovered gold is procured by the NRB from the customs office at prevailing prices and from there it reaches the traders through the same process.

Source : TRN,