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8 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Gold smuggling

Gold smuggling has increased over the past few years. A number of local and international syndicates are said to be trafficking the precious metal from Middle Eastern countries into Bangladesh, much of which is later channeled overland to neighbouring India, one of the world's top gold importers. According to a report of this newspaper yesterday, Customs Intelligence officials recovered 12 gold bars weighing around 1.3 kg from the rectum of an India-bound passenger at Benapole checkpost on Tuesday noon.

The story of this gold seizure is interesting. Being tipped off that the person was smuggling out gold, a team of Customs Intelligence interrogated him when he denied carrying any gold. But later they took him to a hospital and did an X-ray on his abdomen where the existence of gold bars was detected. Again, he was taken to the checkpost and made to take juice and water whereby the gold bars came out of the rectum.

It seems that Bangladesh is in serious danger of becoming a hub of gold smuggling. Very often arrests of gold smugglers in the country’s two international airports make newspaper headlines. Seizure of gold in the airports has almost become a regular affair. In the recent past eight gold bars weighing almost 800 grams were recovered from a passenger’s stomach at Hazrat Shahjalal Airport.

The point here is the gold being seized at the airport may only be the tip of the iceberg, with most of the contraband metal being smuggled in the country. It is estimated that efforts to nab gold smugglers are only successful in recovering 10 to 20 per cent of the actual volume of gold that is smuggled into or through our country every year.

The main reason for gold coming into Bangladesh through illegal means is because of the huge duty. The demand of gold is very high and the premiums are also high. It is an open secret that jewellers of Bangladesh depend greatly on smuggled gold. According to them importing gold through legal channels is too expensive and cumbersome.

Zero tolerance should be shown to such criminality. The canker of corruption and criminality stemmed from gold smuggling must be rooted out with the utmost urgency. As gold is a legal product, the government should reform the legal framework to make it easier to import and export gold through legitimate channels. Much if not most of the gold that is smuggled is believed to be illegally shipped to India, so co-operation between Bangladesh and India on facilitating legal trans-shipments is essential.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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