Racketeers continue to use migrant workers for gold smuggling

Police arrested a person with 150 grams of gold he collected from returnee Nepali migrant workers at Tribhuvan International Airport yesterday.

According to Central Police News Section, Bhupendra Magar, 35, of Doramba Rural Municipality, Ramechhap, had allegedly used the migrant workers returning from Gulf countries to transport gold, promising them handsome wage. He is suspected to be colluding with abroad-based racketeers active in sending gold in small consignments through returnee migrant workers.

Police said three bracelets weighing 50 tola each were confiscated from Magar. An oversea returnee is allowed to carry gold up to 50 grams in the form of ornament. Racketeers like Magar have been misusing this provision by making migrant workers to carry permissible quantity of gold as ornament.

Generally, racketeers pay a wage of around Rs 6,000 to each migrant worker for carrying home 50 grams of gold, police investigation showed. In some cases, migrant workers are paid by the racketeers from the Gulf via wire after the consignment of gold is received by the concerned person in Nepal. According to a figure of TIA, customs officials and police seized an average of two kilograms of undeclared gold collected by racketeers from migrant workers in a week.

According to the data with Nepal Police, smuggling and illegal trade of gold is rife in the country. As many as 110 persons were arrested with 123.9 kilograms of undeclared gold from different parts of the country, including TIA in the fiscal 2018-19. Value of the seized gold comes to around 444.5 million rupees. Police had rounded up 90 persons with 72 kilograms of gold in the previous fiscal.

DIG Bishwa Raj Pokharel, Nepal Police spokesperson, claimed that the law enforcement agency had stepped up action against persons involved in gold smuggling and illegal trade, transaction and sale of the precious yellow metal by maintaining greater vigil against the suspects. Security and customs officials are on high alert to respond to newer modes of smuggling adopted by gold smugglers. According to police, most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal from Gulf countries through TIA, and Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung points via Tibet of China.

Published: 10 August 2019/ The Himalayan Times

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