Higher Risks for Gold Smuggling
Gold smuggling into India, the world’s second-biggest consumer of the precious metal, is becoming more risky for couriers following a surge in seizures and less profitable for the gangs behind the practice.
After being caught off guard by a jump in smuggling on the back of a hike in import duty last year, government agencies have stepped up seizures to the extent that couriers are demanding more money to carry in gold, according to customs intelligence officials and an industry analyst.
At the same time, a drop in the gap between local and global prices also means there is less profit to be made by smuggling in gold, giving banks more business and higher revenue for a government struggling to rein in a fiscal deficit.
“Gold smuggling was highly profitable … but now with the drop in premiums and tight security, legal imports are increasing,” said Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner of customs intelligence at Mumbai international airport.
Seizures at the airport, one of India’s biggest hubs, jumped almost nine fold to 604 kg in the period running from April to September 2014 against 70 kg in the same period a year ago.