Sri Lanka customs dig bottomless gold mine
Sep 26, 2017 03:06 AM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's customs authorities have stumbled on a bottomless gold mine as more smugglers resort to stuffing their bottoms with gems and precious metals, an official said on Monday.
The latest discovery came on Sunday when a Coimbatore-bound passenger was found with his rectum stuffed with seven gold biscuits and six gold chains with a value of 4.5 million rupees, customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said.
He said officials at the Bandaranaike International noticed a trend of more and more smugglers using their rear end to try and smuggle out gems and gold, and there had been at least one detection every week this year.
The extraction is messy, but the value of gems and precious metals purged from rear ends amounted to 206 million rupees so far this year compared to 38 million rupees worth of contraband extracted last year.
The high rate of detections mean it is bottoms up for customs officers who are entitled to generous rewards.
The 45-year-old Sri Lankan who was arrested on Sunday trying to smuggle gold to Coimbatore, India, was fined 100,000 rupees, and his 904 gram haul of yellow gold was confiscated, Jayaratne said, adding that the man was a courier.
Most couriers were paid about 25,000 rupees for the trouble of stuffing gems and jewellery up their bottoms.
"I don't know why they go through such pain for 25,000 rupees," Jayaratne said. "Our officers notice such people because of their walk and behaviour. They appear to be in pain."
Sri Lanka allows passengers leaving the island to carry a reasonable quantity of personal jewellery. It also allows imports of precious metals at a low tax.
However, smuggling is usually carried out as part of money-laundering schemes or to transfer proceeds from drug sales, Jayaratne said.
High taxes on gold imports to India also encouraged smuggling from Sri Lanka. (COLOMBO, Sept 25, 2017)