India warns against gold smuggling by Taiwanese travelers

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India's airports display pictures of gold smuggling by Taiwanese travelers.

India's airports display pictures of gold smuggling by Taiwanese travelers. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After 17 Taiwanese were caught smuggling gold into the country so far this year, the Indian authorities hung out pictures and notices of the arrests at two major airports.

On three days in February, India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport detained two, four and one Taiwanese respectively after they were found trying to smuggle a total of about 17 kilograms of gold into the country, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday.

In May, Mumbai’s international airport was the scene for three further arrests. Taiwanese citizens named as Chiu Chuang Chun, Tseng Chao Wei and Lai Shu Hui were found carrying a total of six one-kilo bars of gold from Hong Kong.

They told police that a man surnamed Lau in the former British territory had promised them US$1,000 (NT$30,600) per person to smuggle the gold into India.

In June, seven Taiwanese men and women succeeded in moving 18 kg of gold into the country, but they were caught with high amounts of cash on their way out, CNA reported.

While the earlier suspects were freed on bail but barred from leaving India while awaiting trial, the latest group were still being kept in detention.

India had recently raised its taxes on gold imports but also increased prison sentences for smugglers to seven years in prison.

Taiwan’s representative office in India warned citizens against believing tales that smugglers received only light punishment, and said Taiwanese travelers should refrain from damaging their own future as well as the island country’s reputation.