Man arrested with nearly 1kg gold from Kathmandu AirportIt was the biggest gold bust made at the airport after international flights resumed on August 17 last year, police say.
Customs agents and police personnel at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport seized nearly 1kg gold from a passenger returning from Dubai on Tuesday night.
SSP Rajesh Nath Bastola, chief of airport security, said 934 grams of gold was recovered from Pragesh Mahara, a passenger on a Fly Dubai flight.
“The customs agents and airport police checked Mahara’s luggage after the metal detector beeped. They found 884 grams of gold hidden inside a rice cooker. The remaining 50 grams gold Mahara was wearing as a bracelet,” Bastola said.
Mahara, a 35-year-old Dhanusa resident, was arrested at the scene and taken to the Airport Customs Department for investigation.
Bastola said it was the biggest gold bust made at the airport after international flights resumed on August 17 last year after months-long Covid-19 air travel restriction.
Between the fiscal years 2014-15 and 2019-20, authorities have confiscated a total of 619kg of contraband gold, a Nepal Police data show.
Gold smuggling cases had declined after the government enforced a nationwide Covid-19 lockdown on March 24 and later restricted international flights .
Bastola, the airport security chief, said gold smugglers are using various methods to avoid getting caught these days.
“We have found people hiding semi-liquid gold in their rectums, concealed torchlights and battery compartments of mobile phones,” Bastola said.
One airport security officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many times unsuspecting passengers have been found used by smugglers as gold couriers.
“In such cases, gold smugglers find people returning to Nepal and pay them some money to take their belongings with them. What those people do not know is that they are carrying gold in the luggage that they agreed to take with them,” the officer said.
“Many people who get arrested for gold smuggling do not have any idea about the whole operation. They are under the impression that they are simply delivering parcels or other goods to specific persons.”
Police believe that most of the smuggled gold that gets confiscated in the country are bound for India and other countries. They say Nepal is just a transit point used by gold smugglers.