Staff Correspondent: About 7.5 maunds (275.9315kgs) of smuggled gold were recovered from various inbound passengers at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the last five months. Customs Intelligence and law enforcers arrested some people involved, but the godfathers remain untouched and unpunished, sources said. The influx of smuggled gold goes on unabated due to lack of punitive action against the masterminds.
As a result, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport witnessed seizure of 1.5 maunds of gold per months. Such arrivals of smuggled gold are also prevalent in other airports of the country.
The smugglers and their agents carry gold bars and ornaments tactfully in garments accessories cartoons, dustbins, seats of planes, toilets, luggage and various organs of the bodies.
Armed Police Battalion (APBn), Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation (CIID), and National Security Intelligence (NSI) seized the smuggled gold from the inbound passengers at the airport.
Concerned people said the gold seized in the first five months of this year indicates that gold smuggling has increased in the country.
APBn Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mohammad Ziaul Haque said the people who were arrested for carrying smuggled gold are mostly passengers.
“The smugglers managed the passengers at the foreign airports to carry the gold and asked them to hand over the gold to their gang members inside or near the airport. They passengers are being lured as they gave them some money for carrying the gold,” he said.
According to sources, more than 100 people have been arrested in 2021 for their involvement in gold smuggling. In the same year, 202 departmental cases were filed. Moreover, several employees of Biman had been fired for being involved in gold smuggling.
Deputy Commissioner (Preventive) of Dhaka Custom House Mohammad Abdus Sadeq said that they were able to detain the illegal gold smuggler as scanning and surveillance activates have been beefed up at the airport.
Asked if gold smuggling has decreased comparing to previous year, he said, “It’s hard to say but we are working. Some passengers are working as carriers out of greed. They are also being caught on the basis of intelligence information.”
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali told reporters after seizure of eight-kg gold bars from a Biman Bangladesh Airlines employee recently, “Many more employees of the airlines are involved in gold smuggling.”
Apart from Shahjalal Airport, smuggled gold is also being seized from Chattogram Shah Amanat Airport and Sylhet Osmani Airport. In the first five months of this year, about 15 kg of gold worth Tk 11 crore was recovered from Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport.
Moreover, around 20 kg of gold was seized from Sylhet Osmani International Airport in 11 months from July last year to May this year. Several cases were filed against seven people during this time.
Al Amin, deputy commissioner of customs at Sylhet Airport, said: “We handed over the detainees to the police after filing of case. Due to long delays in disposal of case, many of them were released on bail. Someone may get punishment.”
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