Sri Lanka customs bust largest gold smuggling racket in history

Sri Lanka customs bust largest gold smuggling racket in history

2 May 2021 11:45 am

An international racket of smuggling gold to Sri Lanka in connivance with airport staff has been busted following the two largest gold detections in history by Sri Lanka Customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport last month.

An Airport maintenance worker and a passenger were arrested yesterday (30) with 26 kilograms of gold worth nearly Rs. 320 million.

Customs Spokesperson Sudaththa Silva stated that this is the largest single haul of gold seized by Sri Lanka Customs.

The previous attempt to smuggle of gold was made 26 days ago when 161 biscuits of gold weighing 17 kilograms were apprehended on the 4th of April. The value of these gold biscuits was estimated to be over Rs. 220 million.

Officials of the Customs Narcotic Control Unit following a comprehensive and strenuous investigation managed to nab a janitor attached to the airport, who was involved with the gold racket.

The suspect was caught red-handed when he was trying to sneak out the stock of gold concealed in a floor cleaning machine, which had previously been left in one of the toilets in the Arrivals Terminal by an unknown suspect, probably an arriving passenger.

Meanwhile, the officers of the same unit had found another three parcels containing 1.5 kilos of gold jewellery from another toilet in the Arrivals Terminal g, which was suspected to have been left behind the same suspect or suspects.
Customs spokesman further revealed that the gold seized yesterday comprised of gold biscuits and jewelry brought from Qatar.
He also added that the maintenance services employee has tried to smuggle the gold out of the Airport premised by concealing them within his body.

Customs  Media Spokesman Sudattha Silva also said the raid was conducted as a result of the surveillance operations by the airport staff who were able to unfold a tactic adopted by the elements to smuggle gold into the country. 

He said the suspect had attempted to hand over the gold biscuits to an airport janitor inside the airport toilet and the janitor used to take the gold out from the airport without being detected by the customs officers.   Accordingly, the passenger and the janitor were arrested.