Smuggling gold hidden in undergarments, inside the heels of shoes or even sewn inside one's body are all old tricks. The new methods of smuggling gold that cannot be detected even with scanner have been detected by customs officers at airports and intelligence directorate, reports Kannada Prabha.

At Chennai, Trichy and Coimbatore airports people were caught smuggling in gold dissolved in a chemical, made into a paste and applied to the body. It could not be detected in scanner also. Last week an intelligence officer at Coimbatore checked a man on suspicion and found that he was carrying 878 gms of gold dissolved in chemical, made into a paste and applied to his legs. He had a bandage around his legs hence the officials did not suspect him.

In Chennai customs officers caught two cases of gold dissolved in a mixture of Nitric Acid and Hydrochloric Acid, termed Acquaragia, filled in liquid detergent bottles of popular brands. The liquid is heated when the acid evaporates leaving the gold residue, which is turned into small balls. The entire process takes 12 to 15 hours. But the amount of gold smuggled thus is small quantity, up to Rs 20 lakh.

The stringent Indian law against bringing in gold from outside is leading to such new methods of smuggling. Only those who have lived abroad for over a year can bring 1 kg gold.  This declared gold attracts 10 per cent of foreign exchange tax. Those who are not NRIs but declare gold must pay a GST of 3 per cent taking the total tax to be paid to 36 per cent.

The demand for gold in Tamil Nadu and Kerala has escalated. An investigating officer said the Middle East and the South East countries have local tax exception for gold. Compared to India’s 13 per cent tax and GST, those countries have minimum tax for gold. Hence considering the total profit of smuggling gold, it is at least 50 per cent more than what a gold traders make.