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Fun on Friday: How to Smuggle Gold and Get Caught

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Almost every morning as I scour the interwebs for gold news, I run across a story about gold smuggling. It’s big business, you know. Particularly in countries like India that have high import tariffs on the yellow metal. Just yesterday, customs authorities arrested a father-son duo at the international airport in Delhi.

In fact, according to an article I read about smuggling, gold is the fifth-most smuggled item in the world. It ranks higher than food, cigarettes, and cash.

It’s a lucrative business, as you can imagine. People want gold, and they’ll go to great lengths to have it. But smuggling isn’t as easy as you might think. You have to be clever.

Take our dynamic Indian duo. They apparently just tried to hide two gold kada, two gold chains, and two belt buckles weighing a total of about 1,700 grams in their suitcase.

Come on guys. You can’t just shove some gold in your suitcase and hop a flight to India. Well, you can. But you’re going to end up in jail like these two. If you want to get your smuggled stash past customs, you have to think more creatively.

And believe me – some of these gold smugglers have.

We’ll start with some basics. You can sew gold into secret compartments in your clothes. This is pretty crude, but effective, especially if you chose garments that people generally won’t want to stick their hands in – like your drawers. Or you can play the religion card. Police in India arrested two women with 20 kilograms of gold hidden within their burqas. I’ve seen reports of Hindu men hiding gold inside their turbans.

Hiding gold in clothing can be effective. Still, it doesn’t really top the creativity chart. But one smuggling group took the clothing thing to the next level. They mixed gold powder with rubber and made insoles that fit inside their shoes. I don’t want to think about what that smelled like.

Then there are the smugglers who go with the “hide it in plain sight theory.” For instance, one group got busted trying to smuggle in gold disguised as beading on handbags.

Smugglers have also figured out ways to literally make suitcase parts out of gold. A little paint, or a coating of cheaper metal and viola, you have an ordinary looking piece of luggage that’s worth thousands. Customs agents have found gold frames inside suitcases. On group made wire mesh out of gold and slipped it between layers of fabric. When viewed through the airport scanner, it looked like a normal part of the luggage. People have even put gold inside suitcase wheels.

Another option is hiding gold inside everyday items. One guy stuffed gold chains inside tubes of toothpaste. The picture shows the chains coated in toothpaste. Can you imagine the mess the guy made getting the gold inside the toothpaste tubes? His street name should be “sticky fingers.” But at least the gold smelled cinnamony fresh – unlike the shoe gold.

Another smuggler put gold inside the lining of a brass flower pot. A particularly innovative chap melted gold down, formed it into tiny seeds and stuck it inside dates – as in the fruit. That gives new meaning to the term “seedy criminal.”

Now, these are all pretty good ideas. But let’s get real. These people didn’t want it bad enough. If you’re serious about smuggling your gold, you put it inside you. This is a good hiding place. I mean, it’s not easy to look inside a person, right? And this also brings us back to the whole “places people don’t want to stick their hands” thing.

But of course, there are drawbacks.

For instance, the New York Daily News reported on an Indian businessman who swallowed 12 gold bars. This might shock you, but it gave him a tummy ache. So, the guy went to the hospital. Now, at this point, you figure he’d probably come clean. Nope. He made up a story. He told doctors he swallowed a bottle cap after a fight with this wife.

I don’t understand this story. First off, why would anybody do that? “Ohhhh! You make me so mad! I’m eating this bottle cap!”

Yeah! That’ll show her.

Secondly, what did he think was going to happen? Did he believe the gold bars would  magically morph into a bottle cap during surgery? Guess what. That didn’t happen. The doctors found gold bars when they operated.

“Wait. Did I say bottle cap? I meant gold bars.”

Anyway, the moral of the story is don’t try to swallow gold bars. If you want to effectively smuggles gold inside you, you have to try – errr – different cavities.

Like how about this story. A South Korean ring of 51 people reportedly smuggled in more than two tons of gold from Tokyo inside their rectums and vaginas over a 2-year span. South Korean customs agents said, “As our crackdown gets tougher, smugglers are also getting more sophisticated in hiding gold or other jewelry products they want to bring in.”

Yes. They used the term “crack-down” – apparently with no pun intended.

So, that’s a pretty good overview of smuggling methods. Of course, you need to take them all with a grain of salt. After all, these people all got caught. Maybe they aren’t so clever after all.

At any rate, we recommend more conventional ways of getting gold. You can call 1-888-GOLD-160 and speak with a Precious Metals Specialist today. I can assure you, you won’t end up with a tummy-ache, or hands probing around where you don’t want them.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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