Singapore Airlines steward arrested at Delhi Airport for smuggling gold
Steward was wearing more than a kilo of gold worth under his uniform which he was carrying for an agent at the destination
By Toh Ee ming
A Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew was arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday (January 22) for allegedly smuggling gold.
The air steward, who was among the crew operating SIA flight SQ402 from Singapore to New Delhi, was detained by customs officials after they searched him and recovered about 1.05kg of gold worth 3.1 million rupees (US$48,962), said an Indian Express report.
According to a senior official, the crew member had worn the gold items, a chain and bangles, underneath his uniform.
Early investigations also revealed that the crew member had intended to hand the gold over to an agent at a prominent hotel in Delhi. In return, he would be paid S$500 (US$383).
Responding to TODAY’s queries about the status of the investigation, and if safeguards are in place to prevent such cases from happening, an SIA spokesperson would only say that the airline “will provide full co-operation to the investigating authorities.”
“Any disciplinary action will be determined depending upon the outcome of investigations, based on established company guidelines,” the spokesperson added.
Citing “confidentiality reasons”, the airline added that it is unable to reveal the identity of the crew member.
According to the Indian Express, the air steward is believed to have committed a similar offence on January 8, but he was not caught then.
SIA cabin crew whom TODAY spoke to said they are aware of the incident, with one expressing surprise at news of the arrest.
An air steward from SIA who declined to be named said he was “shocked” to hear that it was an offence to bring too much gold into a country. He also pointed out that smuggling items like gold was “definitely not a practice” in the airline industry.
He said: “We do know we have to declare articles, but perhaps some things like smuggling gold isn’t really emphasised. It usually (applies more) to currency.”
He also added that guidelines on bringing in gold or food products would “sometimes vary from country to country”.
This is not the first time that such an incident has happened on a Singapore flight bound for India. In February last year, a 36-year-old man from Tamil Nadu was caught attempting to smuggle 20 gold bars on a Tigerair flight from Singapore to Hyderabad.
According to the Times of India, eight gold bars were found concealed in some LED lamps in his checked-in luggage. A metal detector scan later revealed that he had hidden another 12 gold bars weighing 1.2kg in his rectum.