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Taiwanese looking at 7 years in Indian jail for alleged smuggling

2018/02/24 17:43:48

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) Seven Taiwanese nationals detained in India could face up to seven years of jail time and heavy fines for allegedly smuggling nearly 20 kilograms of gold into the country.

The seven Taiwanese were arrested by customs and border patrol officers at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after arriving with hidden gold from Hong Kong during the month of February.

The first two were detained on Feb. 2 with 4 kgs of gold, the next four were arrested on Feb. 4 with 10 kgs of gold, and the final individual was arrested on Feb. 21 with three gold bars, weighing about 3 kgs in total.

According to the Indian police, the seven individuals are suspected of being part of a smuggling ring based in Hong Kong.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India has sent officials to visit the seven detained Taiwanese and help get them lawyers and contact their families.

According to the Taiwan office in India, gold smuggling is a serious crime in India with a potential jail term of seven years and fines.

The office will continue to offer its assistance to the suspects and update family members on the latest developments, it said.

India is known to have a high demand for gold, but because buyers of gold generally hoard it rather than use to generate economic activity, the Indian government has introduced a heavy tax on gold imports into the country.

That has led many criminal groups to smuggle gold into the country and sell it illegally.

(By Charles Kang and Kuan-lin Liu)