TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese woman was busted at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday (Jan. 8) for attempting to smuggle gold disguised as gears to Hong Kong, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).
The four gold cogs, or toothed wheels, weighed a combined 4.785 kilograms and have a market value of NT$7.2 million (US$240,393). They were molded, coated with silver, and put in a suitcase to circumvent border detection, said CGA.
The suspect, surnamed Chuang (莊), said the gold was left behind by her parents, who ran a jewelry shop. She had planned to trade the gold in Hong Kong, where she said she could make NT$500,000 more than in Taiwan, reported CNA.
The arrest was made after a tip-off, said the CGA. Also, an investigation was launched to determine whether Chuang was linked to a broader smuggling racket engaged in money-laundering.
Individuals entering or leaving Taiwan who fail to declare gold worth US$200,000 or more at customs are subject to a fine equivalent to the amount in gold, according to the Customs Administration.