One held with 17 kg gold from Balaju

Kathmandu, December 3

Police have arrested a person with 17 kg undeclared gold allegedly smuggled to Nepal from China.

According to officials, Chhultim Tamang, 32, of Bhotekoshi, Sindhupalchowk, and currently residing in Bouddha, was arrested with the precious yellow metal from Balaju yesterday. The gold was concealed in a false compartment inside the exhaust pipe of a motorcycle he was riding.

The 17 gold bars seized from Lama weigh one kg each and are worth around Rs 88 million as per today’s price in the bullion market.

Acting on a tip-off, a special team deployed from Balaju-based Metropolitan Police Circle intercepted him with the illegal gold.

Police said they had launched further investigation to track down other persons involved in the  smuggling racket. According to officials, most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal through Tatopani point in Sindhupalchowk via Lhasa of Tibet.

The gold entering from Tatopani comes from Hong Kong, while the gold entering from TIA mainly comes from Dubai, Thailand and Malaysia.

The open border with India and relatively poor law enforcement in Nepal make it an easy route for smugglers to push gold into India through Nepal. A police source said the gold being seized by police may be just the tip of the iceberg. Authorised traders claim that up to 100 kg gold is smuggled every day via Nepal.

Amid mounting concerns, police have not been able to keep a tab on smugglers. The official maintained that criminal groups active in Nepal, India and China are investing their money earned through illegal activities in gold.

The government imposes a customs duty of Rs 5,200 per 10 grams of gold while selling it to jewellers through the official channel of commercial banks.