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2024-02-18 17:31:27

Gold smuggling continues in HSIA

Staff Correspondent

Gold smuggling continues in HSIA

Gold smuggling has been continued at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) for the years. Customs authorities and law enforcement agencies have been recovering gold from seat-toilet, dustbin, passenger pockets and other sources. The HSIA turned into as like a gold mine. 

On 2 February, customs intelligence detained Dubai return passenger M Masud Imam and seized 3.5 kg of gold from his procession. The estimated market value of the gold is Tk 3 crore 14 lakh 82 thousand.  

On December 20, customs intelligence recovered 69 gold bars and one gold chain from a bag of a woman passenger Rekha Parveen at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The estimated market value of the gold is Tk 6 crore 57 lakh 36 thousand. Rekha had come to Dhaka on a flight of Emirates Airlines.   

Earlier on 8 December, Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate detained a passenger with 49 gold bars worth Tk 4 crore 41 lakh. Detained passenger Fazle Rabbi had also come to Dhaka from Dubai. 

According to the Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate, 2,583 kg of gold was recovered from 2013-2022 across the country. Customs intelligence, customs house, BGB and airport APBn conducted the drives.  

On 12 June, 7 kg of gold was recovered from a dustbin of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and a cleaner was nabbed for his alleged involvement in this matter. 

The law enforcers said illegal gold bars from the South Asia and Middle East countries enter Bangladesh through Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Smugglers collect phone numbers, passport copy, present and permanent address and NID photocopy of a relative of the expatriates sitting from Dubai.  After landing at the airport, expatriates go to the counter of the customs authority. They take receipt of the gold bar tax. After that, the Bangladeshi agent of the smugglers received gold bars and a receipt at the airport.

According to the Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate, there is no data about the illegal gold bars in the country at any organization of the HSIA. It said local businessmen buy gold bars and smuggle them to India. India is the second largest gold consumer country in the world. 

Sources said on 24 July 2013, customs intelligence recovered 124 kg of gold from a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It was the largest shipment of gold smuggling in the country’s history. A case was registered in this regard with the Airport Police Station. Dhaka Metropolitan Detective Police submitted a charge sheet against 18 persons including 10 staff of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Surprisingly, the judicial process of the case has not started yet. All accused are freed now. 

In 2014, 106 kg of gold was seized from the toilet of a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It was the second-largest gold recovery in the country. Detective Branch submitted a charge sheet of the case after three years. 

A total of 187 cases of gold smuggling are subjudice from 2019 to 2021.          

@ The article was published on print and online versions of The Bangladesh Pratidin on February 18, 2024 and has been rewritten in English by Golam Rosul.

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