In line with Bengaluru International Airport’s (BIA) reputation of being increasingly used for smuggling, four people holding Chinese passports have been apprehended by the Airport Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Bangalore Customs this year.
Well-placed sources said three of them were apprehended in two different incidents this month while they were trying to smuggle Red Sanders Wood out of the country. Red Sanders Wood is an endangered species of flora protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna.
“Chen Qingping, holder of Chinese passport, was smuggling 17.5 kg of red-coloured wood believed to be Red Sanders wood,” a source said, adding that he was travelling to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, by Air China (flight number CA 426) scheduled to depart from Bangalore at 01.40 am on June 5.
“As many as 142 notes of 100 denomination, two notes of 20 denomination and four notes of 10 Yuan were seized,” sources said. Two other persons holding Chinese passports, Zhang Jia Yi and Xu Xiao Jun, were apprehended while departing to Hong Kong by Dragon Airways (flight number KA153) scheduled to depart from BIA at 2.40 am on June 3.
Sources said that the weight of red sanders logs carried by Zhang Jia Yi was approximately 12.38 kg. “Xu Xiao Jun was carrying approximately 19.05 kg” the source said. Indian currency amounting to Rs 21,540, US dollars worth 18,936 and Cambodian currency of 2400 Com Riel were seized.
Officials, while noting that China has a big market for Red Sanders, said it was not the first time people from that country were being held. In August last year, five Chinese were arrested on two separate occasions while attempting to smuggle Red Sanders wood to China. About 240 kg of wood valued approximately at Rs 12 lakh were seized by Customs AIU.
Sources also revealed that another person with Chinese passport was apprehended for carrying Indian currency amounting to Rs 6.5 lakh in his hand baggage, in violation of provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2000. Songhao Jiang was departing from BIA by Dragon Air Flight (number KA 153) on February 2.
Two Indians held
An official said the AIU team on June 12 arrested an Indian national, Muhammed Asharudheen Erumukath, 28, who arrived from Dubai (Emirates flight number EK566), for concealing 10 gold bars totally weighing 1166.40 grams valued at Rs 32.89 lakh.
Erumukanth was concealing the gold in a black nylon belt worn on his waist under his shirt. “Foreign currency, $ 4,000 and 150 UAE Dirhams, were also seized.”
In April, another Indian, David Rajesh, was arrested for smuggling electronic goods worth an estimated Rs 23.27 lakh in his baggage. He was carrying 67 Sony handycams valued at Rs 18,990 each, 19 Sony Xperia-S mobile phones valued at Rs 30,449 each, a Sony hand-held camcorder valued at Rs 2.51 lakh and a Panasonic hand-held camcorder valued at Rs 2.25 lakh, the official said. Rajesh was coming from Singapore.