Kathmandu, November 29
Police arrested two Chinese nationals with eight kilograms of undeclared gold from Tribhuvan International Airport yesterday.
Those taken into police custody for gold smuggling have been identified as Chen Qinghuang (passport number EA5807598) and Chen Zhaoyang (passport number EH6596637). Central Police News Section said the Chinese men, who arrived here from Hong Kong on a Nepal Airlines flight, were found possessing the undeclared gold during a security screening at a walk-through gate of the TIA customs. The eight gold bars seized from them weigh one kg each, and are worth around Rs 42.84 million as per today’s bullion price.
Officials said the duo had been carrying four kilograms each. The Chinese nationals have been kept in the custody of Gaushala-based Metropolitan Police Circle for further investigation. Gold smugglers seem undeterred by frequent seizure of undeclared precious yellow metal at TIA.
Despite police action, racketeers continue attempts to pass gold through the only international airport of the country. Police said racketeers were changing their modus operandi for gold smuggling through TIA. Concealing gold in rectum, battery boxes, laptops, baggage and inner soles of shoes are some of the ways adopted by smugglers. Smugglers also mould gold into jewellery and wear it to outsmart security and customs officials.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had claimed that cases of gold smuggling had gone down after the special probe panel formed to investigate the murder of Sanam Shakya on 2 March 2018, and disappearance of 33 kilograms of smuggled gold, filed charge-sheet against 75 persons. Of them, 46 were arrested and 34 of them are in jail.
After a brief lull, gold smugglers have again started cashing in on the poor security system of TIA to supply precious yellow metal to Nepal. Some migrant workers returning Nepal have also been used as gold carriers. Deputy Inspector General of Police Bishwaraj Pokharel, Nepal Police spokesperson, said the security agency had stepped up action against gold smugglers to bring them to book. According to statistics released by Nepal Police, it seized 108 kilograms of gold in fiscal 2018- 19, compared to 72 kilograms in the previous fiscal.
Officials said they had not been able to completely control gold smuggling for want of hi-tech screening devices and detectors along the borders and TIA. Most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal through TIA, and Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border points from Tibet of China.
A version of this article appears in print on November 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.