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Customs seize 124kg gold bars at Shahjalal airport

Customs seize 124kg gold bars at Shahjalal airport

DHAKA: Bangladeshi Customs officials at Shahjalal International Airport seized 1,064 gold bars weighing around 124 kilograms from the luggage chamber of a Biman flight.
“This is the biggest ever haul at the airport in the 42 years history of Bangladesh,” said Wazed Ali, assistant commissioner of customs.
No one was arrested in connection with the seizure.
Following a tip-off, customs officials searched at BG-702 about half an hour after it landed at the    airport. The flight came from Dubai via Kathmandu.
“We searched the luggage chamber around 2:30pm and found 1,064 gold bars wrapped in black cloths,” said Kamrul Hassan, assistant commissioner (preventive) of the airport customs.
The market value of the bars was around Tk 54 crore, he said.
The customs officials, however, could not conclude from where the consignment of gold bars was smuggled in.
Kevin J Steele, managing director (MD) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said he was aware of the incident and they were currently investigating the matter in both Dhaka and Dubai.
Asked who might have sent the consignment, an official of Airport Armed Police Battalion said in such cases the smugglers never mention the names and addresses of the sender and receiver anywhere in the consignment.
The official suspected that a gang of smugglers with the help of some unscrupulous Biman officials might have been smuggling the gold bars.
The Biman MD said “We must wait for the report of the investigation. But it appears that the gold might have been put inside the aircraft in Dubai.”
“In Dubai, Biman does not have its own staff who can work on the ramp, it has a handling agent, DNATA, there,” he added.
Kevin also said he had asked for a list of all DNATA staff, who worked on the ramp of this flight in Dubai.
The seized gold bars will be deposited to the government treasury, said customs officials.
Wazed Ali said as far as he could recall, the seizure of 56kg of gold was the second largest haul at the airport in the late 80s.
On Tuesday, a man was arrested with 146 gold bars weighing 17 kilograms at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong.
On July 6, customs officials recovered 25.3 kg gold bars from a Biman flight. These gold bars were found unattended and unclaimed.