South Africa nabs trio with 74 kg of gold in hand luggage

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South African authorities arrested three suspected smugglers after finding 73.5 kilograms (162 pounds) of gold bars worth about 66 million rand ($4.5 million) in their hand luggage.

The trio was detained at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last week after a security scanner “identified irregular images,” the South African Police Service said Monday in a statement. The men were en route from Madagascar to Dubai via Ethiopia, it said.

The suspects will appear before the Kempton Park Magistrates’ Court on charges of dealing with precious metals and contravention of the Customs Act, the police said.

Investigations, with the assistance of Interpol, are under way to determine the origin of the gold and legitimacy of certification papers provided by the men, the police said. The probe will also focus on the destination of the gold.

(By Paul Burkhardt)

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