Smuggler’s booty: Man arrested at Sri Lankan airport for ‘smuggling gold bars in rectum’
Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a man at an airport in Colombo for allegedly trying to smuggle gold bars hidden in his rectum.
Officers at Bandaranaike international airport had noticed he was walking suspiciously, a spokesman said. Gold weighing 400g, worth about 2 million Sri Lankan rupees (US$13,960), was found hidden inside the suspect’s rectal cavity, a customs spokesman said.
The 42-year-old suspect claimed in custody that he worked for a Sri Lankan government ministry, according to Sri Lankan news website the Nation.
The latest apparent smuggling attempt follows a series of other incidents this year where smugglers have concealed gold in their bodies. Officials said more than 70 people have been arrested this year for smuggling gold in Sri Lanka.
Smugglers typically buy gold from places where the precious metal is relatively cheap and where there are fewer trade restrictions, such as from Dubai and Singapore, aiming to sell it on in India – the largest gold consumer in the world. The import duty for gold in India is high: currently 10 per cent for a 100g bar .
Overall consumption was at 642 tonnes in India this year. Chinese consumption stood at 579 tonnes, according to the Thomson Reuters GMFS gold survey . “A fall in prices of gold in the recent months has been one of the reasons for the increased demand for gold in India,” Jayant Sinha, minister of state for finance, told local media .
When India first started trying to control gold imports in 2013 in an attempt to tackle a widening trade deficit, smugglers went to the extent of getting human mules to swallow nuggets or hiding gold bars in dead cows. Earlier this year Gujarati police said they had made the single biggest seizure of gold smuggled into India after arresting six people attempting to leave an airport with 60kg of the metal flown in from Dubai.
In India, smugglers risk a jail term of up to seven years, although such a penalty is rare and the main deterrent is confiscation of the gold .