USD 95,000 seized at airport, four arrested

Crime: In the largest foreign currency bust at Paro international airport, around Nu 6.3 million or a little more than USD 95,000 worth of foreign currencies were seized from four Bangkok-bound Bhutanese men on Saturday.

The four men were caught during a security check prior to entering the boarding area. A security frisk revealed that the men were carrying large amounts of USD, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht, and Hong Kong dollars, among others, in their pockets and in their hand baggage. Most of the currencies were USD.

Regulations require that travellers declare to customs if they are carrying foreign currencies equivalent or beyond USD 10,000 prior to departure or on arrival.

The four, said to be businessmen, claimed to be taking the money for purposes like shopping, medical treatment, and education.

Authorities have not been able to verify if the four are linked and were travelling as a group.

A total of USD 95,460 worth of foreign currencies were seized and handed over to the Royal Monetary Authority.

The four men were jointly intercepted by customs and airport security personnel.

This is the second time this year, authorities at the airport have seized foreign currency being taken abroad without declaration.

In July, a Bhutanese man headed for Bangkok failed to declare USD 50,000, worth around Nu 3.1 million, found in his luggage.

In the previous year, two separate cases resulted in around Nu 8 million worth of foreign currencies being seized at the airport.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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