SEOUL – A 24-year-old Japanese man and a 49-year-old South Korean man were arrested recently on suspicion of smuggling 70 kg of gold bars worth 3.5 billion won (about $3 million) into South Korea, customs authorities said Thursday.
The Incheon-based customs agency said it is investigating the possibility that the Japanese man, whose name was not disclosed, had a number of accomplices.
According to the office, the two men, who belong to a gold smuggling ring based in Hong Kong, are suspected of bringing the gold into the country over six trips made in March and April.
The men would conceal the gold bars by taping them to their bodies, according to local media.
The men would travel to South Korea via Japan, not known as a smuggling route, in a bid to evade suspicion, it added.
The Japanese man, who was reportedly in charge of the smuggling, allegedly instructed his accomplices to act “naturally like tourists” at the airport. The gold was delivered to a South Korean man at a hotel in Seoul’s Myeongdong district popular with tourists.