Two more people have been arrested in connection with the recent gold smuggling case.
Those arrested are Chinese nationals Li Jialin and Liu Fuyan. According to a high-ranking police official, they were arrested from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu at 8 AM Friday.
The two were scheduled to board a Himalaya Air flight to China at 9 AM. The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had earlier written to the Department of Immigration to blacklist them.
The CIB arrested them from the airport after receiving information that they were about to fly to China. Their role in the gold smuggling case has not been disclosed yet.
The number of people arrested in the case has now reached 20. Among them, customs agent Rukmina Subba has been released on guarantee as she suffers from cancer and needs to undergo treatment.
The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) had arrested Suresh Tamang, known as Naresh, on July 26 and Belgian national Dawa Tsering on July 30.
Three staffers of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Customs Office – Santosh Chand, Kumar Dhakal, and Saroj Shrestha – have also been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the scam. The Department of Customs had already suspended them citing negligence before the DRI arrested them.
Customs agents Yadav Shankar Parajuli and Sudarshan Gautam, Global Pvt Ltd promoter Pushkar Raj Bhatta, Krishna Shrestha, Rajan Shrestha, taxi driver Ashok Lama, customs agent Rajendra Rai, Ready Trade Pvt Ltd promoter Dilip Bhujel and his maternal uncle Ram Kumar Bhujel, Harka Raj Rai, Indian national Thapten Tsering and Chinese national Lin Zeqiang have also been arrested in the case.
The DRI was investigating them under the Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act. It has handed over the case to the CIB.
A DRI team had confiscated a huge quantity of gold during a cargo inspection on July 18 after it had passed undetected through the airport customs.
The gold, whose total weight is estimated to be nearly 100 kilograms, was brought hidden inside brake shoes for scooters on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Hong Kong. The brake shoes were imported by Ready Trade Pvt Ltd.
The seized goods have been sent to the Mint Division of Nepal Rastra Bank to determine the actual weight of the gold. But the gold has yet to be weighed.