Japan gives suspended sentences to 3 Taiwanese women smuggling gold in bras

Women showed remorse: Judge

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Suspended sentences for 3 Taiwanese women who tried to smuggle gold into Japan. (Photo from Customs Department at Hakodate).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A court in Japan on Wednesday found three Taiwanese women guilty of trying to smuggle gold into the country hidden in their bras.

The three, a mother, her daughter and a friend, were sentenced to one year in jail each but suspended for three years while the gold, roughly 10.5 kilograms shaped into bowls to hide inside their underwear, was confiscated, the Central News Agency reported.

Chiu Shu-fen (邱淑芬), aged 47, her daughter Chiu Yu-ting, 20, and a friend named as Chang Hui-ying, 47, arrived at Hakodate on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last November 11.

A female customs inspector reportedly found during her inspection that their breasts were extremely hard, leading to the discovery of the gold bowls, which had a total market value of US$471,000 (NT$14 million), the Mainichi Shimbun reported at the time.

A man introduced by an acquaintance reportedly paid for their tickets to Japan, also promising them NT$20,000 (US$668) per person, according to CNA.

Prosecutors had asked for effective one-year prison terms, but the women’s attorneys wanted suspended sentences because the women had only acted as transporters. The judge chose the latter option as the suspects had shown remorse, the Japan Times reported.