Smugglers are getting smarter. Two passengers got a couple of plates of gold made identical to labels stuck to the back of airport baggage trolleys to hoodwink customs authorities, Delhi airport officials said Thursday. Their plan was to stick the gold plates, worth Rs. 40 lakh, on top of the usual trolley tag to get through customs.
The ingenious attempt, however, didn’t succeed after the duo incited the suspicion of officials while trying to stick their plates on top of the sign affixed near the handle of the trolley.
The duo made gold plates (L) identical to labels used on baggage trolleys, to smuggle gold worth Rs. 40 lakh. (HT photo)
The failure wasn’t due to lack of homework though. The smugglers did trial-runs to note the length and width of the plate and even took photos of the label to ensure the replica was perfect.
The usual trolley sign comprises a set of four pictorial instructions to passengers and mentions the maximum load supported — 90kg, in this case.
The novel plan was foiled when customs officials noticed the smugglers were doing something with the trolley. During interrogation, they confessed the plate on the back of the trolley was made of gold.
A close-up shot of the gold plates. (HT photo)
The daring attempt earned grudging appreciation even from airport authorities. “It was the most unique way to smuggle gold and the duo had done a lot of hard work,” said a customs official. The fake plate would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the alertness of customs officials, he added.
Both smugglers were from Dubai, prompting officials to keep a lookout for passengers coming from the Gulf.
The trolley hoax is the latest in a series of shrewd plans hatched by gold smugglers to get around customs checks at Delhi airport. Past attempts include carrying hundreds of grey stapler pins actually made of gold, carrying the yellow metal in the sole of shoes and even concealing it inside a microwave.