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Bangladesh - October 7, 2021

Airport or Goldmine!

Industry Desk: The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) recovered 40.11 kg gold worth Tk28 crore so far in the 2021-22 financial year from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. Most of these gold bars were seized from different flights of the national carrier.
The CIID recovered the gold bars from bizarre locations – including air-conditioner panels, the garbage box, tissue paper box, toilet, and underneath the passenger seats – of the flights. There are some other popular ways of carrying illegal gold by the passengers – like in rectum and inside shoes.
On Tuesday, the CIID seized 120 gold bars (13.92 kg) worth about Tk10 crore while being smuggled in tissue boxes of a Biman flight from Dubai.
The flight, BG-4048, was raided by CIID officials after being tipped off, said a press release.
Six suspicious bundles wrapped in black tapes were recovered from the aircraft’s 3F-1RC washroom that contained the gold bars. The seized bars are worth Tk9.74 crore.
However, no arrests were made during the raid.
CIID Assistant Director Abu Hanif Mohammad Abdul Ahad led the raid.
“According to the information obtained previously, we recovered the gold kept in the tissue chamber of the aircraft toilet,” he told.
He noted the gold was kept in a place that is not usually possible for a passenger to access.
One of the CIID officials who took part in the raid, seeking anonymity, said the engineer of the aviation authority was asked to check the other places of the aircraft but did not cooperate.
CIID Director General Dr Abdur Rouf in the press briefing said CIID does not get any cooperation from the aviation authority for preventing gold smuggling.
In February this year, 150 more gold bars weighing over 17 kg were seized from another Biman flight from Abu Dhabi. The gold, worth around Tk10 crore, were placed in the air-conditioner panels of the plane after it landed at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram.
On 31 March this year, 39 pieces of gold bars weighing 4.5 kg were recovered from underneath a seat of a Biman flight coming from Dubai. The seized gold was worth Tk3.16 crore.
On the same day, 28 gold bars weighing three kg worth 2.06 crore were found underneath the seat of another Biman flight from Dubai.
On 1 April, the preventive team of Dhaka Customs House arrested a Biman employee in a raid at Dhaka airport.
The detained Biman aircraft technician helper was detained while he was rummaging flight BG 5046 travelling from Dubai.
According to the information given by him after interrogation, 1.1 kg of gold worth Tk70 lakh was recovered from the handle of a seat.
Interestingly, toilet paper boxes were used to smuggle gold earlier on 6 November in 2020.
Sixty-eight gold bars worth Tk4.73 crore were recovered from under a toilet paper box in one of the washrooms of flight BG248.
Earlier on 2 July 2019, the customs officials had recovered gold bars worth Tk6.38 crore from the toilet paper box behind a passenger seat.
Tipped off, the officials raided flight BG122 travelling from Muscat and located 110 gold bars, wrapped in black tapes, in the toilet paper box on the back of seat 21A.
The CIID seized 174.49 kg gold in 2020-21 and 180.35 kg golds were recovered in 2019-20 from the airport in different raids.

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