'Gold smuggling in Nepal has three tiers'

Published On: July 20, 2023 08:37 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 20: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) seized around 100 kg of gold, which was smuggled from Hong Kong on Wednesday night. On Thursday, the DRI arrested six people on suspicion of their involvement in gold smuggling at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Out of these, four people were arrested on Wednesday, and two others were arrested on Thursday.

The gold, which passed the customs check at the TIA, was seized by a team from the DRI while exiting TIA Customs by taxi. The gold was smuggled from Hong Kong into Nepal by hiding it in scooter brake shoes and shaving razors. The preliminary investigation into the gold smuggling is being conducted by the DRI.

It has been found that the gold was smuggled into Nepal by paying only US$ 480 customs duty. It has been reported that $480 worth of customs duty has been paid based on the evaluation of brake shoes and shaving razors.

The investigation of this gold smuggling is being conducted under the direct leadership of the Director-General of the DRI, Nawa Raj Dhungana. He responded that this incident has strengthened the suspicion that gold may have been smuggled in the past too.

Moreover, such cases of smuggling have been increasing in Nepal for the past decade and a half, which strengthens his suspicions. Earlier, in mid-February 2018, there was a huge incident of gold smuggling, known as the '33 and a half kg gold smuggling case.'

It was said that the gold disappeared before reaching the hands of the concerned person. After the murder of Sanam Shakya of Urlabari, Morang, who was said to be carrying the smuggled gold, the involvement of dozens of people in the case was leaked. Among them, eight people involved in Shakya's murder case were found guilty by the Morang District Court.

According to the report submitted by the representatives of the relevant agencies involved in the investigation of past gold smuggling cases, there are three tiers prevalent for involvement in gold smuggling in Nepal. First-tier businessmen are based in Dubai, Hong Kong, and China, who hold responsibility to pass the gold through their territories.

The first priority for smuggled gold is the Indian market. Local markets are sought only when it is difficult to supply it to India. Although the names of some key businessmen and associates have been revealed in the police investigation, they have not come under the scope of action.

According to reports retrieved from past gold smuggling investigations, the highest number of people arrested for gold smuggling are Nepalis. The second are Indian nationals, and the third are Chinese nationals.

Since the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008/09, the incidents of gold smuggling have been increasing. In recent years, gold is being smuggled in significant quantities. If we look at the sequence of events in the past, most of the incidents of gold smuggling have been made public in Kathmandu.

Until a decade and a half ago, up to 10 to 11 kg of gold was found to be smuggled. This amount has increased dramatically in recent years. According to the police headquarters, the number of people arrested for gold smuggling has increased rapidly in recent years.

The incident reported at TIA on October 5, 2012, confirms the fact that security personnel are also involved in smuggling.




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