Two gold bars were seized from a man who arrived at Cochin International Airport from Dubai here on Thursday.
Customs officials at Nedumbassery airport intercepted Sameer Kodiyil of Malappuram at the exit gate of the arrival hall when they found his movements suspicious. Customs officials said Sameer had smuggled in the gold bars concealed in carbon paper inside his socks. A communication from the Customs said the bars weighed 2 kg.
Officials said they have increased surveillance at the airport after the duty on gold import was increased recently. “The government has made the rules for import of gold stricter. So the amount of gold entering the market legally has come down. The demand is thus being met through these means,” said a Customs official.
In July alone, 9 kg of gold bars worth Rs.2.52 crore was seized from the Nedumbassery airport. “But if gold smugglers are sending five people with gold bars, only two may get caught. No airport is foolproof. But we have increased surveillance to deter smugglers,” said the official.
The gold bars seized on Thursday and Tuesday were of 1 kg each. These were concealed in the smuggler’s socks on two occasions and in their pockets in the other cases. Gold seizures earlier were of smaller gold biscuits each of 116 gm of gold. The larger gold bars facilitate easier transport of large amounts of gold.
Customs officials said most of those arrested with gold were first-time smugglers from impoverished backgrounds. Their average age is 25 and they are usually people who travel to Dubai in search of jobs. “They may have lost their jobs or may have been cheated with the promise of jobs by travel agents. Some of them are forced to take part in smuggling because they are told that they will be given jobs only if they smuggle gold,” said an official.