Kempegowda International Airport sees surge in small-time smugglers | Bengaluru News – Times of India


A trend of individuals taking around15 trips a month to the Gulf from Chennai and landing at Kempegowda International Airport with smuggled goods, has been keeping customs officials on their toes.

BENGALURU: A trend of individuals taking around15 trips a month to the Gulf from Chennai and landing at Kempegowda International Airport with smuggled goods, has been keeping customs officials on their toes.
With each plane landing from the Gulf having nearly 20 such carriers, the sleuths have stepped up surveillance. The items include iPhones, Apple watches, PlayStations, alcohol and even burqa. The
smuggling activity via KIA this March is estimated to be worth crores.
According to sources, flights from the Gulf, mainly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, had passengers flying in and out with just a day’s break.
“The passengers, mostly men, went to the Gulf from Chennai and arrived at Bengaluru. Inspection of passports revealed their travel history: 15 trips in just 30 days. They were carrying gadgets and gold,” said anofficer.
A single flight from the Gulf has no less than 15 passengers, who are small-time smugglers attempting to slip out with cellphones, PlayStations or tiny pieces of gold. “Some even fly in with a bunch of burqas. Questioning them revealed that each piece can fetch them a profit of Rs 1,000. The men are often part of gangs which fly to the Gulf very frequently and more number of people return with little quantities of goods to avoid detection by customs,” said an officer.
On average, close to 30 flyers are nabbed at KIA per day, slapped with customs duty for the items and let off. If passengers refuse to pay the duty, the goods are seized. The items are often for second-hand sales in cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad and each flyer makes no less than Rs 30,000 if s/he makes one trip.
As per rules, a passenger must not carry newly purchased goods valued at more than Rs 50,000, while some exceptions are made for single laptops, phones and other gadgets. Drones weighing only up to 2.4kg can be brought in and mostly require a declaration on the DGCA portal, which issues online clearance, said sources.

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Sagar Biswas

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