Gold smuggling in weird manners has kept happening through Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) yet again recovered 120 gold bars worth about Tk10 crore on Tuesday – this time the gold was being smuggled in the washroom tissue dispensers in a Biman flight from Dubai.
The agency has so far seized 40.11kg gold worth Tk28 crore in the fiscal 2021-22 from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, mostly from flights of the national carrier.
And the recoveries were made from bizarre locations – the air-conditioner panels, the garbage box, toilet, and underneath the passenger seats – of the flights. Passengers were even found to have carried illegal gold in their rectum and shoes.
The Biman flight BG-4048 was raided by CIID officials on Tuesday after receiving a tip, said a press release.
They found the gold bars in six suspicious bundles wrapped in black tapes in the aircraft's 3F-1RC and 3F-1LC washrooms. The seized bars are worth Tk9.74 crore.
No arrests were made during the raid.
CIID Assistant Director Abu Hanif Mohammad Abdul Ahad, who led the raid, told The Business Standard, "According to the information obtained previously, we recovered the gold kept in the tissue chamber of the aircraft toilet."
He noted that the gold was kept in a place that is not usually possible for a passenger to access.
One of the CIID officials, who took part in the raid and did not want to be named, said the engineer of the aviation authority was asked to check the other places of the aircraft but did not cooperate.
At a press briefing later, CIID Director General Dr Abdur Rouf also alleged that the agency does not get any cooperation from the aviation authority in preventing gold smuggling.
In February this year, 150 gold bars weighing over 17kg were seized from a Biman flight from Abu Dhabi. The gold bars, worth around Tk10 crore, were placed in the air-conditioner panels of the plane after it had landed at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram.
On 31 March, another 39 gold bars were recovered from underneath a seat of a Biman flight coming from Dubai. The seized gold weighing 4.5 kg was worth Tk3.16 crore.
On the same day, 28 gold bars weighing 3kg and worth Tk2.06 crore were found underneath the seat of another Biman flight from Dubai.
On 1 April, a team of Dhaka Customs House arrested a Biman employee in a raid at the Dhaka airport.
The detained Biman technician helper was detained while he was rummaging inside flight BG5046 travelling from Dubai.
According to information given by him in an interrogation, 1.1kg of gold worth Tk70 lakh was recovered from the handle of a seat.
Interestingly, toilet paper boxes were used to smuggle gold earlier on 6 November 2020.
Sixty-eight gold bars worth Tk4.73 crore were recovered from under a toilet paper box in one of the washrooms of flight BG248.
Earlier on 2 July 2019, customs officials recovered gold bars worth Tk6.38 crore from the toilet paper box behind a passenger seat.
Upon a tip-off, the officials raided flight BG122 travelling from Muscat, Oman and located 110 gold bars wrapped in black tapes in the toilet paper box on the back of a seat.
The CIID seized 174.49kg gold in 2020-21 and 180.35kg gold in 2019-20 from the airport in different raids.