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Customs agents catch diamond smugglers

Body scan at Dubai airport reveals Dh4m worth of rough diamonds in suspects’ guts

Gulf News

Dubai: Two passengers smuggling more than a kilogram of rough diamonds — worth Dh4 million — have been caught at Dubai International Airport, officials said.

The suspects, both Arabs, were nabbed by Dubai Customs agents while attempting to traffic the materials inside their guts. The seized stash is equivalent to 5,080 carats.

Ali Al Maghawi, Director of Airports Operations Department at Dubai Customs, said the smugglers had arrived from two African countries.

One of the men was caught after customs officials trained in analysing body language noticed suspicious behaviour. As one of the men approached the customs lounge, the officers searched his bag, which did not contain the rough diamonds.

However, he was asked to undergo a body scan which confirmed the authorities’ suspicion — the scan revealed a murky substance in his guts.

The passenger admitted the substance were the diamonds. The weight of the stones were later determined to be 316g.

Al Maghawi said the second passenger had also approached the customs lounge, proceeding onwards to the Gold Office at Terminal 1 to declare rough diamonds. He submitted a Kimberly regulatory certification required for the diamonds.

However, customs agents also asked him to undergo an electronic stomach scan which revealed the presence of a murky material.

Following interrogations at the Passengers Investigation Office at Dubai Customs Airports Operations, he admitted his bid to smuggle the rough diamond, later found amounting to 700g.

The suspect had failed to declare it before customs authorities as it had no Kimberly certification, a requirement when importing diamonds.

The passengers and the seized material were referred to the Dubai Police airport office for legal action.

The trading of rough diamonds is governed by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) issued by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000. The Kimberley Certificate must be presented with any amount of diamond for import or export purposes.

The UAE is the first country in the Arab World to be a signatory to the KPCS, thus ensuring that all rough diamonds imported to the UAE have been mined in a legitimate manner.