Customs officials are regularly seizing huge consignments of smuggled gold coming into the country and it is almost 300 kg per day, according to sources at the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate.
A number of international smuggling syndicates have been using international flights to bring the gold consignment into the country only to be smuggled out to India, the world’s highest gold-consuming country, said the sources.
Besides, the syndicates use Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar borders to smuggle gold consignments from Malaysia and Myanmar using sea routes, they added.
Customs officials seized around 254 kg gold, mostly in bricks, bars and biscuits format -- from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong -- over the last eight months till July 31 this year.
They seized 612 kg gold worth about Tk 300 crore in the last 15 months till September 5 this year.
Although there is no study about the quantity of smuggled gold that evades the customs detection, intelligence sources hinted that at least 300 kg enter Bangladesh every day through three international airports -- Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Shah Amanat International Airport and MAG Osmani International Airport, while at least 20 kg through Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar borders.
According to Bangladesh Jewelers Association, the jewelry traders do not import gold as there is no policy for it. Country’s jewelers depend on refined gold as well as the gold imports by the expatriates under the baggage rules to meet the demand.
Bangladeshi expatriates usually bring in gold under the baggage rules from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries when they return home.
But from July last, the trend of bringing gold by the expatriate ‘came down to almost zero level’ as the government increased the tariff on the import for current fiscal year 2014-15, he said adding that the decision of increasing tariff under the baggage rule ultimately encourage the smuggling of the precious metal.
Earlier, one passenger was allowed to bring in 200 grams of gold ornaments without paying any tax and gold bars worth 200 grams by paying a tax of Tk 150 per 11.664 grams (one Bhori). Now one is allowed to carry 100 grams of gold ornaments, and has to pay a tax of Tk 3,000 for per 11.664 gram gold for additional 200 gram gold bars.
Gold worth about Tk 10 crore has been selling every day across the country.
Bangladesh has been used as a transit point for gold smuggling.
Without mentioning the name of any country, he said the smuggled-in gold is again being smuggled out to neighboring countries through Bangladesh border due to greater tax on importing gold in those countries.
Intelligence sources said most of the gold consignments, which are being brought here from abroad using international flights, are smuggled to India again as they need 25 times more tax on gold imports through the formal channel.
The daily demand for gold in the Indian market is nearly 3,900 kg.
Gold smuggling booms 300kg enter every day BD a transit point