How a Chennai based YouTuber smuggled gold worth Rs 167 crore for Sri Lankan syndicate

A report in The New Indian Express said a syndicate member residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) paid Sabir Rs 70 lakhs to take the shopping space on lease.
Representative image of Chennai airport
Representative image of Chennai airport
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The Air Intelligence Unit of the customs department arrested nine people for smuggling 267 Kgs of gold worth Rs 167 crore over a couple months on Thursday, June 27, at the Chennai Airport. Among the eight arrested was a 29-year-old Chennai based Youtuber Sabir Ali, who set up a retail shop inside the airport to facilitate smuggling for a Sri Lankan syndicate.

According to news reports, Sabir Ali was contacted by a syndicate in Sri Lanka through his YouTube channel – shoppingboyz. The syndicate member floated the idea of setting up a souvenir shop inside the Chennai airport to Sabir. According to The New Indian Express, a syndicate member residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) paid Sabir Rs 70 lakhs to take the shopping space on lease.

Sabir reportedly employed seven people, all of whom were trained by the syndicate to smuggle gold handed over to them by transit passengers inside the airport’s washrooms. The team would reportedly deliver the smuggled gold to receivers outside the airport premises. In two months’ time, the group reportedly managed to smuggle 267 Kgs of gold worth Rs 167 crores and earned a commission of Rs 3 crore.

The group was busted on June 29 after a customs department officer suspected one of the employees of Sabir’s shop and found 1 Kg of powder gold. According to TOI, both the transit passenger who handed over the smuggled gold and the employee of Sabir’s shop were taken into custody. Following their arrest, the department arrested Sabir and the other members.

According to the report, all eight members of the syndicate who worked in the souvenir shop had possessed identity cards issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) despite having been bound by a contract only. Since they possessed identity cards, they were not subjected to security checks, the report added. A probe is reportedly underway to understand how the group managed to get BCAS identity cards.

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