Gold Smuggling Increases 7x In India And Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The absurd “War on Gold” that India has launched this year has been covered many times on this site. From the moment I read about it, it was obvious that if Indians want their gold, the Indians will have their gold. You can’t break thousands of years of tradition and culture because of the ignorant whims of a few bureaucrats.

Earlier today, Reuters published an article detailing the extent to which Indian smugglers will go in order to bring the money of kings into the country. This includes hiding it in underwear, swallowing it whole and even painting gold staples gray. What is most disturbing is the lengths authorities are willing to go to in order to stop a supposedly free people from buying a brick of metal. From Reuters:

(Reuters) – Indian gold smugglers are adopting the methods of drug couriers to sidestep a government crackdown on imports of the precious metal, stashing gold in imported vehicles and even using mules who swallow nuggets to try to get them past airport security.


Stung by rules imposed this year to cut a high trade deficit and a record duty on imports, dealers and individual customers are fanning out across Asia to buy gold and sneak it back into the country.


Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore are the latest hotspots as authorities crack down on travelers from Dubai, the traditional source of smuggled gold.

Stop one and another will rise. As always.

In a sign of the times, whistleblowers who help bust illegal gold shipments can get a bigger reward in India than those who help catch cocaine and heroin smugglers.

Because that makes a so much sense.

“There has been a several-fold increase in gold smuggling this year after restrictions from the government, which has left narcotics behind.”


That suggests official data showing a sharp fall in gold buying, which has helped narrow India’s current account gap, may significantly underestimate the real level of gold flows.


Last week, Sri Lanka limited the amount of jewellery its residents can take out of the country and it will try to monitor whether they bring it back. Pakistan banned all gold imports in August for a month as it believed much was being smuggled on into India.


Indian gold premiums have soared to $130 an ounce over London prices due to the supply crunch, compared with about $2 an ounce in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.


In June, a passenger flying from Dubai was caught at New Delhi airport with about 755 grams (1.7 lbs) of solid gold staples painted grey. Officials stopped the man because the cardboard boxes he was carrying were stapled far more than seemed necessary.

Simply genius.

“We are trying to plug all the loopholes. We have strengthened our anti-smuggling staff and installed door metal detectors,” said S.A.S. Navaz, deputy commissioner of customs in the south Indian city of Kochi. “We are spending sleepless nights.

Sleepless nights because citizens want to buy a piece of yellow metal. You might have bigger problems than gold champ.

In an effort to change that, Mumbai customs offers a reward of up to 50,000 rupees per kg of bullion seized for informers in gold smuggling cases. Cocaine and heroin informers get only up to 40,000 rupees and 20,000 rupees respectively.


Full article here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
LetThemEatRand's picture

Once again, thank the Good Lord for the NSA helping us stop all of this terrorist activity abroad.   We must stop them from buying gold over there, or we'll have to stop them from buying gold over here.  The South African yellow coin trade is especially troubling.  

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Serious threat to National Security. If they couldn't continue to counterfeit paper currency they would actually have to work for a living. We can't have that now can we?

Pladizow's picture

Why not simply fly to India, looking like Mr.T?

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

According to the author it would be safer to hide it in cocaine or heroine...

DoChenRollingBearing's picture



Pretty soon it will come down to drugs, gold and our money.

1) Drugs, well, because we cannot have any of that!

2) Gold, even worse than drugs!  National Security and all...

3) It's not our money anyway...


GUNS fit into this equation somewhere, but I never got far enough into math to tell exactly where.

dryam's picture

Governments are not worried about a barbaric relic.

What governments are worried about is the truth.  Gold is a revealer of truth (when it's not manipulated) & thus, the arch enemy of the contrived world we live in.  The system falls apart at some point as the lies continually increase in an exponential fashion to cover all of the previous lies. 


PT's picture

No, I've already told you.  Just because they banned gold, doesn't mean they don't want you to import gold.  They know the Indians will continue to import gold.  They want the Indians to continue to import gold.  But now the govt doesn't have to pay for it.  They just confiscate it as they find it.

zhandax's picture

The truth will come out.  Only the cost goes up.

GetZeeGold's picture



Wake me when they start smuggling bitcoins......cause smuggling gold is pretty normal.


They're been doing that crap for years now.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

have you heard of the latest rival to Bitcoin? It has all the properties of Bitcoin except it can, by virtue of really smart technology called metallurgy, be physically held in your hand!!!

They call it CoinCoin. Its made of precious metals.

mick_richfield's picture

I've heard of this.

This "physicality" property is interesting.  But who implemented it?  How do we know we can trust it?

Aren't there some of these "metals" that can spontaneously change into other "metals" ?

Seems confusing....

TwoCats's picture

You're confused.  I think you mean New Gold.

MarsInScorpio's picture



I think many readers missed your "metals" change line.


Yes, it's true - there is a high degree of certainty that the gold held at the FRBNY, and at Ft. Knox, has mysteriously changed into tungsten with a thin remenant of the original metal appearing as a plating on the outside surface of the tungsten for the effect of looking like solid gold bricks . . . no one is at fault for stealing the gold because it occured from the inside and moved outward within the bricks - therefore, no one could see the changes as they took place.


Everyone has "clean hands" because, in effect, it just "vaporized" . . . which means there will be NO investigation or criminal charges filed against anyone.


To avoid panic, the FED has prohibited an audit and testing because the general public wouldn't understand how alchemy has, in fact, proved to be true when using the secret incantations of the FED chair, who like the High Priest of the Temple of Moses, and Solomon, utters it once annually in the presence of his/her heir-apparent while ordering the release of goats just outside the NY city limits to carry off the sins of the banksters.


(I hate to think anyone fails to see the /sarc of this post, but this is a /sarc post, in case you didn't.)



BigJim's picture

-1 for the sarcasm. Shame on you!

mick_richfield's picture

Oh yeah.  We don't use sarcasm around here.  Right.

Peter Pan's picture

If the Indian authorities put as much energy into fighting corruption in their country they just might realise their potential.

Instead they fight the importation of real money.

The funny thing is that rupee means wrought silver.

GetZeeGold's picture



I'm forwarding your idea to Eric Holder.


I doubt he'll do anything.....but who knows?

ejmoosa's picture

Had they put as much energy into growing their economy, they would not be concerned about gold or silver.

Crash N. Burn's picture

"They want the Indians to continue to import gold."


 Actaully they want Indians to buy the One Banks' paper-called-gold. Won't work 'cause you can't wear GLD. End result of trying to suppress the Indain gold market? Decoupling - official gold price - and Indian gold price.


 Stay tuned sportfans, this should get interesting.

DanDaley's picture

Where's Golfinger when you need him...just turn that Rolls Royce into gold, pay off the customs officials and, voila.

SAT 800's picture

D+G=(-)M+Guns=you're fucked; Govt. wins. I think that's the equation.

fonestar's picture

My Bitcoins have never been soiled by poop while crossing Kashmir.

Double.Eagle.Gold's picture

One thing I don't understand about bitcoins,

how do you use them without electricity?

PT's picture

Same way you use your credit card without electricity.

Better hope you got enough warning so you can get to the ATM in time. 

zhandax's picture

The ugly truth.  Bitcoin is worthless when the lights go out.


PT's picture

And magically comes back on again when the lights come back on.  Granted, this gives PMs the advantage over bitcoin, but just as some don't know their tungsten from their gold from their fools gold, some don't know how to network computers or how to turn on a generator.  Something tells me that the lights will only go off for the little people.  Why would TPTB deprive themselves of electricity and WiFi?

On the plus side, if the power goes off then you won't be able to swap your last bitcoin for the last loaf of saw-dust encrusted bread.  You may be tempted to swap your last ounce, if you're hungry enough.

In the mean time, you can't deny that bitcoin has been a great speculation.  Did tulip bulbs crash and then rise again?  How many times now has bitcoin crashed and then re-risen? 

Note, I am not pro- or anti- bitcoin.  I just want to see better arguments.  And on that note, where is the source code?


Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

the grid can go down because when the shit hits the fan, you will have factions of TPTB that want to or have to turn on other factions of TPTB, so the shit will really hit the fan - it wont be a neat little orchestrated mini collapse


SAT 800's picture

You want better arguments? Read Euclid's Elements; all the arguments are perfect.

SAT 800's picture

And they're not worthless before the lights go out? now, that's a revelation. I never thought I'd live to see so much silliness on the part of grownups.

ejmoosa's picture

Dude:  I need to charge up my laptop

Clerk: That's .02 bitcoins in advance.

Dude: I can pay you as soon as I charge my laptop,

Clerk: Sorry, you must pay in advance.

Dude: I can't

Clerk: You're fucked. Next!


PT's picture

Here, let me use my credit card ... What?  What???

... and this is the last loaf of bread in town.  That guy over there offered me his stash, his Rolex and his daughter for it but the other guy offered to not give me 3 pieces of high speed lead.  The next flour truck isn't due to arrive until next week, but that is assuming it manages to negotiate all the mobile speed humps on the way here.  I'd lend you my truck and you could pick up some more flour yourself but I've run out of diesel.

Martel's picture


Bitcoin and India would be a perfect match.

  • high inflation
  • capital controls
  • punitive taxes on gold
  • punitive taxes on everything
  • lots of unbanked people
  • relatively good smartphone penetration
ejmoosa's picture

Your bitcoins have not even faced a real test yet....

TwoCats's picture

Hi Fonestar, keep up the good fight, man.

As I see it there have been three main positions on bitcoin on ZH lately:

1) Bitcoin is a ponzi/pyramid/bubble/tulip scheme, and will permanently crash soon.

2) Bitcoin is a threat to central bankers, and is going to be squashed by TPTB

3) Bitcoin is going to become the world's reserve currency.  Anyone who buys now will be rich!

I find myself thinking that TPTB will try to suppress bitcoin a bit more actively when it gets to a larger market cap.  I honestly don't know how that would turn out.

Try this one, Fonestar:  What would happen to Bitcoin if TPTB closed BitPay's bank account, along with any similar payment services.  This wouldn't require a law or regulation, just for the banks to declare that bitcoin businesses are too "risky" to do business with, so it could happen at any time.


BigJim's picture

What happens to bitcoin when the IMF - and all the other unelected little hobgoblins that bring such pleasure to our days - bring out SDRcoin and you can pay your taxes with it?

Skateboarder's picture

What is the best way to take all of your PMs overseas for good? And will you be assraped by steep duty charges?

LetThemEatRand's picture

You need to go bars deep, no lube.

fonzannoon's picture

"the way your dad looked at it, these bars was your birthright. He'd be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore these bars up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the bars. I hid these uncomfortable pieces of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give these bars to you."

LetThemEatRand's picture

I've got a fever.  And the only prescription, is more goldbell.

Skateboarder's picture

Food almost ended up on the screen...

Was asking a serious question though. I do plan on leaving at some point in the coming few years, and do want to take my gold with me.

I've bought some Au/Ag for the folks but never for myself yet. I got one oz right now from my folks haha. I might hit a kg by the time I bounce.

edit: Am hesitant to move more than a kg lol, so I won't bother buying more than that. Am glad to put my money in land for the long term. I don't want to be hassled - I'm just a regular guy going from point A to point B motherfuckers, and I don't want to pay 100% duty to move some shiny.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Depends on where you're going.  A "coin collection" gets scrutinized less than bullion, a  financial instrument, (except when TPTB say it isn't).  If you're going somewhere sufficiently first world, you can always trade the collection back to oz if sheer weight is your goal.

Find a supplier that you trust where you want to end up and buy from them.  That works too.

zhandax's picture

In the environment we have now, keep it in equities, buy gold futures contracts,  and collect the premium on cash over delivery.  Until you really want metal.

Winston Churchill's picture

Too late to go that route my friend, unless you are liquid and quick.

Have you tried to move money internationally lately.De facto capital

controls are already in place,The system is set up, just waiting on

the word from on high to stop all flows.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

maybe exchange some emails with a jeweller in the destination country, elicit from him an agreement /undertaking to bring them some gold to smelt/convert into jewellery. Even talk about some jewellery designs etc, and so then if the customs guys wanna know why you're moving the metal, you can tell them its for a jewellery business , show them the emails in proof. 

Ignorance is bliss's picture

I've given this some thought. A fishing trip to a foreign destination use your own boat, fly your own plane to the Bahamas for instance, charter a plane to Panama. Maybe a drive to Mexico and then to destinations unknown. The curtain was created for ships and planes entering the U.S. not leaving. The U.S. is too big. Confiscation through taxation would just drive wealth out of the country or into a deep hole somewhere. We would experience a similar situation as the people of India.  

zeroheckler's picture

Tungsten coated bars or balls!

mick_richfield's picture

Oh, that's really funny.

"You bastard!  This isn't real tungsten, it's gold!"

The photo-inverse of Fort Knox.

SAT 800's picture it's on google. read all the information. The Perth Mint; represented by Kitco; no I don't like kitco, they're a business connection. Small Austrian Private Banks; that you'll have to locate for yourself; when you're in Austria on a Tourist Visa. Etc.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

But, but, but you can't smoke gold.