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Iridium smuggling on the rise, Customs notice to airports
November, 30th 2011

Iridium powder, an expensive metal used for increasing the weight of gold, seems to have become the most preferred article to be smuggled into the country from Hong Kong.

Taking the increase in iridium smuggling cases into consideration, the Customs department has sent an internal notice to airports across the country, asking officials to look out for people trying to smuggle the contraband into the country.

On December 12, a passenger from Hong Kong was arrested for smuggling iridium powder worth Rs 17 lakh by Customs officials at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Though iridium is also a rare metal, it is cheaper than gold. It is used by jewellers to make gold and platinum ornaments heavier, a senior Customs official said.

Gurmeet Singh Bhatti, who holds a Chinese passport, arrived in the Capital on Cathy Pacific flight CX-695 from Hong Kong. Based on a tip-off, Air Customs caught him at the exit gate of the Green Channel.

Upon conducting a body search of the passenger, Customs officers found 1,075 grams of iridium powder concealed inside his socks, the official said.

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