Gold Smugglers Overtake Narcotics Smugglers in India

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(Reuters) – Indian gold smugglers are adopting the procedures of pharmaceutical couriers to avoid a government curb on imports of the yellow metal, storing gold in imported vehicles and even using mules that swallow nuggets to attempt to get them past airport security.

Stung by directions enforced this year to cut a high trade shortfall and a record obligation on imports, dealers and individual customers are moving out over Asia to purchase gold and bring it back into the homeland.

Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore are the newest hotspots as administration crack down on vacationers from Dubai, the traditional source of smuggled gold.

In a signal of the times, whistle blowers that help bust illicit gold shipments can get a larger pay in India than those who help apprehend cocaine and heroin smugglers.

Kiran Kumar Karlapu, an authorized at Mumbai’s Air understanding Unit said “Gold and narcotics function as two distinct syndicates, but gold smuggling has become more money-making and fashionable,”

Since vacationers laden head-to-toe in jewelry to travellers who conceal carbon-wrapped gold parts in their bodies – in the wrong belief that steel detectors will not leave – Indians are smuggling bullions more than ever, government officials say, obsessed by the country’s limitless demand for the yellow metal.

That proposes authorized facts and figures showing a pointed drop in the gold buying, which has supported to narrow India’s present account gap, could significantly misjudge the real grade of gold flows.

The World Gold Council approximates that 150 to 200 tonnes of smuggled gold will go in India in 2013, on the peak of the 900 tonnes of authorized demand.

Between April to September solely, India’s culture agents grabbed almost twice the amount of smuggled gold it apprehended in all of 2012.

A revenue intelligence officer in Mumbai who turned down to be named said “Though the quantum of seizures has expanded, in our attitude it reflects only 1 to 2 per hundred of total smuggling,”

Dealing with a high trade deficit and weak currency, India enforced assesses this year to crimp demand for gold, the second most expensive item on its import account after oil. It enforced a 10% duty on bullion and a 15% tariff on jewelry. Trades fell to 24 tonnes in October from a record 162 tonnes in May.