$1.9m of gold found in flyDubai plane toilet

Cleaners discover nuggets in lavatory of flight to Bangladesh capital
$1.9m of gold found in flyDubai plane toilet
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 24 Oct 2013 12:30 PM

Cleaners discovered 280 gold bars worth £1.17m ($1.9m) inside a toilet after landing on a flyDubai flight from the emirate to Bangladesh, according to the UK's Daily Mail.

Armed police were called on board the plane when it landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, where the bullion was discovered during cleaning.

Custom officials said they knew the bars – weighing 32kg in total - were on board and believe the person trafficking them sensed there was a police presence and abandoned the gold before fleeing the scene, the newspaper said.

More than 100 hauls of gold weighing about 300kg and other precious items have reportedly been seized at the airport in the past eight months.

Earlier this month, authorities at India’s Chennai Airport seized 32kg of gold bars worth INR95m ($1.53m) hidden in the toilet of a plane also flying from Dubai.

Four Sri Lankans were reportedly arrested in relation to the seizure, which included 32 1kg bars in two black video recorder bags.

An Indian official reportedly said airline insiders may have been involved in smuggling the gold.

Gold trafficking has increased this year as the price of gold rises and exchange rates in countries such as India decline.

The Indian government’s decision to increase the duty on gold bullion imports by three times this year to a record 10 percent also has caused trade activity in Dubai, a tradition export transit point, to fall by up to 60 percent in recent months, fuelling black market trade.

Pakistan also suspended a duty-free gold import arrangement in August after purchases soared in the first half and topped $514m in July alone, citing smuggling into India. The ban was lifted in September, but trade has remained subdued.

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