Photo : Collected
Gold smugglers are capitalising on the current strike, exploiting the diversion of law and order forces. Utilising innovative smuggling techniques, these individuals have become increasingly active. In a single day, law enforcement authorities at Shahjalal and Shah Amanat airports seized approximately 14 kg of gold, valued at around Tk 13 crore. During this operation, five smugglers were apprehended by the authorities.
Additional Superintendent of Police Ziaul Haque Palash of the Airport Armed Police informed the Daily Messenger that smugglers are constantly on the lookout for opportunities, taking advantage of any available chance to engage in illicit activities.
He revealed that there had been no reports of gold smuggling at the airport for several days, leading the authorities to believe that smugglers saw this as an opportune moment to attempt to transport contraband through the airport. However, owing to their heightened vigilance, law enforcement, in collaboration with customs officials, successfully intercepted and seized a shipment of approximately 7 kg of gold.
He emphasised that all relevant organisations are currently on high alert, collectively working to prevent any smuggling activities at the airport.
Recent reports reveal that last Thursday, over 1.5 kg of gold was confiscated at Shahjalal International Airport. The smugglers had ingeniously attempted to transport the gold concealed within a bag on an Emirates Airlines flight. In a swift response, customs detectives thwarted a similar effort within a few hours, seizing approximately four and a half kilograms of gold using a similar method on an Air Arabia flight at Shah Amanat Airport.
On Saturday, law enforcement apprehended four passengers attempting to smuggle approximately 7 kg of gold through the anal. Subsequent to the attempt, they were detained.
Airport sources have noted a recent absence of gold recovery incidents at the airport for several days. However, the audacious endeavor to smuggle about 14 kg in two separate incidents on the same day highlights the cunning tactics employed by smugglers. It underscores the nature of smuggling, where perpetrators take calculated risks, and their success is measured not only by their ability to go undetected but also by the instances when they are intercepted and apprehended, typically at the border.
Sources say that smugglers are trying in the current situation. Because after leaving the airport, there are no checkpoints or checking on the roads like before. For this reason, they are looking for various opportunities.
According to the investigation, smugglers use at least half a hundred techniques to smuggle gold in Shahjalal. Even used flight cabin crew, aircrew, pilot, engineer, trolley man, cleaner. Sometimes gold is smuggled in vacuum cleaners, electric motors, various parts of the body, top handles of trolleys, wallets with passenger carriers. There are also attempts to smuggle gold with black or silver plating. In addition, patients use wheelchairs, thigh anklets, shoes, waist braces with belts, shirt collars, sandals, soap cases, sound box adapters, various food or medicine containers, inside shorts under pants, laptop batteries, money bags and around the neck with a gold chain as a pendant.
Customs Intelligence Additional Director General Minhaj Uddin informed The Daily Messenger that surveillance at the airport has been significantly heightened compared to previous periods.
He highlighted that there is no leeway for reducing surveillance, especially during times of political unrest. Smugglers might believe that once they can bypass airport checks, they can transport illicit goods to more convenient locations through alternative routes. However, Minhaj affirmed that all relevant organisations are maintaining a high level of vigilance to counteract such attempts, ensuring that comprehensive measures are in place to prevent smuggling activities.
In response to a query, he acknowledged that smugglers employ a variety of strategies to elude the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies. Currently, instances have been observed involving the concealment of contraband in stomachs or within the seats of flights. However, preceding these tactics, there were efforts to smuggle using the sensitive panel box of the aircraft, and they have even utilised flight commodes.
He emphasised that their heightened surveillance has been instrumental in uncovering these smuggling attempts. The vigilance level is currently at its peak, enabling authorities to stay one step ahead of the innovative techniques employed by smugglers.
Dhaka Customs House Deputy Commissioner (Preventive) Mokaddes Hossain, in a statement to Messenger, asserted, "We maintain a vigilant stance to thwart any smuggling attempts at the airport." He attributed the success in apprehending smugglers to the unwavering surveillance efforts, emphasising that regardless of the methods employed by smugglers, avoiding detection is implausible.
Hossain added that, in addition to their team, other organisations are also actively engaged in monitoring activities in this regard. Addressing a question, he affirmed that attempting to exploit political unrest would be a miscalculation, as the collective watchfulness of the authorities remains steadfast.