“Most of those who conceal it in rectum are hired passengers”

In the last 30 days, Customs officials at the airport here had detected three cases of gold smuggling from Colombo clearly indicating a spurt in illegal trade of the yellow metal. Of the three, two of the passengers had concealed the gold biscuits in their rectum. This trend exposes exploitation of poor and gullible air passengers for money, officials say.

According to a top official in the Central Excise and Customs, most of the carriers of gold biscuits in their rectum were hired passengers. They were paid around Rs. 500 for every 10 grams of gold smuggled by them. For earning the money, they have to stay hungry for about two days and undergo painful process of stuffing the gold biscuits through their anus.

“An individual can conceal as many as 15 biscuits, each weighing 100 grams, in his/her rectum. But so far all those who were caught at the Madurai airport had carried only two to three biscuits. The entire illegality is perpetrated to avoid paying Customs duty at the rate of 36 per cent of the value of gold in the international market on the day of travel,” he said on Friday.

Another officer said that Customs Commissioner S. Faheem Ahmed had inspected the customs facility at the airport on November 22 and instructed the field officers to subject every other passenger to metal detector test after making them remove their watches, ornaments and other metal objects. “He also wanted the revenue earned through customs duty to cross Rs. 1 crore this year,” he said.

Joint Commissioner A.S. Meenalochani said that frequent seizures of smuggled gold and detention of the offenders was the only way to deter people from indulging in such crimes. “Concealing a foreign body in the rectum is dangerous. It is heart rending to see people getting involved in such things for money,” she said.

Ramesh Ardhanari, head of the department of gastroenterology at Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre here, said that forcing a foreign body into the rectum could be life threatening. “It can damage the rectum. It could also cause fissures in the anus and severe pain,” he added.

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