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Dubai Customs says it has thwarted the smuggling of 24-carat gold bars weighing 2.3 kilograms.

Dubai: Two passengers, who tried to smuggle in nearly half a million dirhams worth gold remodelled as buckles of bags and belts, have been caught red handed by Dubai Customs.

Dubai Customs on Thursday said it has thwarted the smuggling of 24-carat gold bars weighing 2.3 kilograms, with a market value of Dh485,700, which were with two passengers coming to the emirate through the Dubai International Airport.

The passengers tried to deceive the inspectors by distributing the ingots to several bags and melting the ingots in the form of buckles used for the bags and belts they carry.

The total weight of the bullion in the first seizure was 1.072kg, valued at Dh225,120, and the second seizure was 1.241kg, valued at Dh260,610.

“With this, Dubai Customs proves again that it stands firm against all the smuggling attempts, relying on a team of highly qualified inspectors and very advanced technologies,” said Ibrahim Kamali, director of Passenger Operations Department.

High sense of security

“The high sense of security led the inspectors, and as part of their routine work in facilitating customs procedures and monitoring passenger movement, to suspect the passenger’s bag.”

He said when the bag was X-rayed, it showed density variation. “After thorough examination, we discovered that all the buckles in the bag are made of pure gold and they were painted in a different colour as a means of camouflage. More investigation led to thwarting the second passenger’s haul.”

Kamali noted that the department enrolls customs officers in specialised and innovative training courses in body language and identification of drug types, in addition to investing in advanced detection devices.

Quick but no compromise

“Smuggling methods vary according to the type of smuggled material, size of the shipment and means of transport. Travellers use a variety of tricks, including hiding their contrabands in secret pockets at the bottom of large bags. Some smugglers try to take advantage of the quick and simple customs procedures mistakenly thinking that this would compromise with security, but they are very wrong. There is no compromise whatsoever when it comes to the security and safety of our society and borders,” he added.