Courier made 37 trips to Singapore since March

Over Rs. 80 mn foreign currency detection at BIA

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A person recently arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport, while trying to smuggle out Rs. 81,768,000 in foreign currency to Singapore, had been to the same destination on 37 occasions since March this year, a senior Customs investigator told The Island yesterday.

The middle-aged suspect had admitted to having smuggled foreign currency on four occasions, though investigators believe he carried money on many more occasions.

Responding to a query, another official said that the suspect had been a courier employed by an influential gang with possible links to the underworld. The official said that the gang had probably spent Rs. 100 mn in the black-market to acquire foreign currency worth Rs. 81,768,000 for illegal transfer.

The suspect had denied any knowledge of the amount of funds he was carrying. Asked whether the suspect had inside help, sources said that those manning an X-ray machine at the entrance should have detected him. Although bundles of foreign currency had been neatly wrapped in carbon paper to avoid detection, the appearance of more than half a dozen black objects on the screen should have alerted security personnel, sources said.

The Customs confiscated the money and imposed a Rs. 2.5 million fine, which was paid promptly. In spite of the severity of the offence, law enforcement authorities wouldn’t undertake any further investigation into the largest ever detection made at the BIA, sources said.

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