High drama at Kochi airport as Customs seizes 2.65 kg of gold

Frequent flyer held; 22 gold biscuits hidden inside laptop

High drama unfolded at the Cochin International Airport on Saturday morning, at the end of which Customs Air Intelligence Unit sleuths seized 2.65 kg of gold worth about ₹85 lakh hidden in the form of 22 gold biscuits inside the battery hold of a laptop.

It all started when a suspected passenger landed at the airport from Dubai. The Customs officials began monitoring him straightaway as he had been under their scanner for some time on account of his frequent visits to the Middle East and Far East destinations and Sri Lanka for no apparent reasons.

“However, he seems to have sensed it and got into a public toilet in the international terminal where he stayed put for 30 to 40 minutes in an effort to shake off the surveillance. As soon as he emerged from the toilet, one of our teams thoroughly checked it, as the modus operandi of leaving behind the contraband in the vent pipe of the toilet for someone else to retrieve it later was noticed recently in Chennai,” Sumit Kumar, Customs Commissioner, told The Hindu.

But nothing was found in the toilet and even the scanner detected nothing suspicious. However, the Customs sleuths who were convinced that he was up to something diverted him when he was about to exit through the Green Channel.

“Then our officers noticed that his laptop was heavier than normal following which it was taken apart. The gold biscuits were so cleverly hidden in the battery hold of the laptop that it would have passed off for some gadget even on scanning,” said Mr. Kumar.

He said that thorough passenger profiling had led to the seizure, as the accused was found to be a frequent flyer despite having no business or job abroad.

Probe on

The Customs Department is trying to track down the contact person who was supposed to take delivery of the consignment from the carrier. “We know about the syndicates, which adopt similar tactics but are trying to establish specific links through our probe,” said Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:18:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/high-drama-at-kochi-airport-as-customs-seizes-265-kg-of-gold/article26226707.ece

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