Gold smugglers now opt for land routes

Ahamed Ullah

4 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Gold smuggling has become rampant through various land routes along the frontiers, dodging law enforces and customs officials.

A powerful syndicate of international gold smugglers is engaged in the pursuit, using the land border areas of Bangladesh to smuggle gold into the neighboring country.

The malpractice continues virtually unabated due to an alleged connivance with some dishonest land port officials, according to sources.

It has been learned that along with the airport, gold smuggling has increased along the land border routes as well.

Investigation revealed that—Kakdanga of Satkhira, Amrakhali check post in Beanpole, Daulatpur of Khulna and Jayanagar of Chuadanga, Hili port – are the popular frontiers among gold smugglers.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) officials said smugglers are no longer able to smuggle large shipment due to BGB activity and intelligence surveillance. They try to smuggle small gold shipment, but most of the time they are caught by the BGB personnel.   

A reliable source has claimed that Indian smugglers are not only smuggling gold but also dollars.

On November 13, Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) arrested two people with 10 gold bars weighing about 2.783 kg from Amrakhali check post in Benapole area under Sharsha upazila of Jashore.

The smugglers are increasingly using more new and extreme methods for evading detection from law enforces and customs officials at various airports or land ports in the country.

Now gold is being moulded and shaped to look like spare parts of electronic items. The original parts are replaced by the shaped gold and being smuggled.

Besides, gold biscuits or bars were smuggled by hiding them in anatomical cavities such as rectum, intestine and vagina. This form of smuggling is called body packing.

Sources said carriers carrying gold in the sensitive parts of the body have been given special training. They are so skilled that men and women can hide a few kilograms of gold in their rectum, intestine and vagina.

Body concealment is regarded as the safest form of smuggling, but most risky, painful and dangerous for the carriers, officials said.

From time to time, the law enforcers and customs officials recover smuggled gold and arrest some but the real smugglers always remain behind the scene.

Investigation officials said smuggled gold reach its destination by changing 8 to 10 hands. As a result, most of the carriers do not know the details of the gold except a little information about the person who has contracted him and who he has to reach with the item.

Sources said the volume of smuggled gold is more than that seized by the law enforces or customs officials. Smugglers are being involved in smuggling gold due to its huge profit.

On November 22, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) seized 31 gold bars weighing about 4.6kg from Kakdanga border area of Satkhira district.

Lt Col Golam Mohiuddin Khandakar, Commander of Satkhira Battalion (BGB-33), said smugglers were engaged in hundi, drug, gold and silver smuggling for a long time. As part of the BGB’s special plan to detain them, intelligence operations were strengthened.

As part of the plan, a team of the BGB conducted a drive in the area and recovered 31 gold bars weighing about 4.6kg, he added.

Habildar of Kakadanga Border Outposts (BOP) Nur-E-Alam conducted the drive, the BGB official said, adding that “The estimated price of the seized gold bars is around Tk28 million.”

A BGB official said gold smugglers are now trying different techniques to smuggle gold. However, due to the tight security and monitoring by BGB, they fail to smuggle gold through land ports.

October 24, Members of Border Guard Bangladesh detained an Indian national along with 10 gold bars in Daulatpur border area of Benapole.

On June 16, Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) arrested four alleged smugglers with 41 gold bars at Amrakhali in Benapole of Jashore.