Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai airport on Wednesday detected a novel method – carrying gold melted in acid - used by gold smugglers. The smuggler was carrying an acid mix bottle in which the yellow metal worth Rs 6.31 lakh was melted and initially told the customs officials that the bottle contained floor cleaning liquid. This is the first time customs official coming across such a ‘scientific’ modus operandi to smuggle gold.
According to the Chennai airport customs officials, ‘liquid gold’ was seized from one Afzal Khan, who arrived in Chennai from Kuala Lumpur.
On examination of passenger’s baggage, one yellow bottle marked ‘KAG Bleach’ was noticed and found it was unusually heavy.
He was walking through the green channel to the exit gate when he was intercepted by officials checked his baggage.
“The yellow coloured bottle was weighing 1.96 kg and found to be containing a yellow-orange colour solution. This solution was tested and was found to contain gold dissolved in Aqua Regia solution, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid.
The gold was later extracted by way of heating the solution in small parts on a clay plate over a charcoal fire. After evaporation of the liquid, the gold in powder form was extracted by government approved valuer. After 10 hours of the process, it was found that the solution 177 gm of pure gold was recovered. Afzal was also carrying two gold coins weighing each 20 gm.
The total value of the gold recovered from him was estimated to be around Rs 6.31 lakh, a customs official said....