By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Sept. 16: The Metropolitan Police Airport Security Office confiscated 3.360 kg of gold from two individuals in the baggage checking area of the Tribhuvan International Airport’s (TIA) domestic terminal on Monday. Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the Airport Security Police Office identified the duo as 30-year-old Bodh Raj Bhandari of Kailali and 47-year-old Murari Raj Adhikari of Dhanusha. The duo was en-route to Biratnagar by a flight of Shree Airlines. Police informed that they seized gold necklaces, rings and earrings, among others, weighing a total of 3.360 kg hidden inside the luggage. The market value of the seized gold is said to be over Rs. 22 million.
“The gold was being taken for business purpose but without completing any legal procedure, moreover, in a hidden manner. We have sent the duo and the seized gold to the Department of Revenue Investigation in Pulchowk for further action,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rajesh Nath Bastola. It was the second incident of gold seizure in a period of 10 days. On September 3, the Banke District Police Office had arrested two individuals with over 4 kg of gold from Nepalgunj Airport. Identified as Buddhiman Khati of Morang and Amir Lagun Bishwakarma of Jhapa, the duo had hidden the gold in the sole of their shoes. They had passed undetected through the checking at te TIA and boarded a flight of Shree Airlines to Nepalgunj.
SSP Bastola, who is also the chief of the Metropolitan Police Airport Security Office, informed that they have intensified the security checks at the domestic terminal of the TIA after the Nepalgunj incident. A passenger enters the departure area after a physical checking and an X-ray check of their luggage through the entry for the domestic terminal. After receiving the boarding pass, the passenger is checked again before entering the waiting hall for their flights. “We have changed some procedures recently. Passengers need to remove their shoes, belt and electronic appliances and keep them in a tray. The tray should then be passed through the X-ray machine and the passenger is also checked again,” said SSP Bastola.
Passengers flying to different parts of the country via TIA were surprised to see such checking at the domestic terminal since it was something new but applauded the move. “Authorities never asked to remove the shoes, belt, mobile and watch before. The checking was different and intense this time. The procedure is a little lengthy but it is a good move since it strengthens the security at the airport,” said Roshan Shrestha, a passenger who took a flight to Biratnagar via TIA on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, officials stressed that they would continue strengthening their security to ensure illegal goods are not smuggled through the airport.