A 26-year-old Chinese woman was arrested by Customs officers at Bandaranaike International Airport while she was trying to smuggle out Rs.11.64 million worth of gems to China last night.
BIA Deputy Customs Director Parakrama Basnayaka said the suspect was arrested at the departure lounge at 8.20 p.m following a tip off that she was trying to smuggle local and foreign currency out of the country.
The suspect, who was found to be working as a tourist agent in Sri Lanka, was scheduled to fly to Shanghai, China on flight MU231.
When searched officials found 248 gem stones in twelve varieties including topaz, cat's eyes (Wairodi), eiprins, garnets, blue sapphires, green sapphires, purple sapphires and emeralds packed in her luggage.
Customs officials also found foreign and local currencies amounting to 26,680 Sri Lanka Rupees (LKR), 16,900 Chinese Yuan (CNY) and 1,650 Dollars (USD) in her luggage.
A penalty of Rs. 300,000 was imposed on the suspect who forfeited ownership of the stones.
The raid was carried out under the directions of Customs Director Rohith Uduwawala, Deputy Customs Director Parakrama Basnayake and S.P.I. Balasooriya. The raid was conducted by Customs Superintendent Prithi Herath and Assistant Superintendents P.P. Abeywickrama, Ajith Siriwardana, Mahesh, U.D. Monti, L.G. Jayaweera, Charitha Hettigoda, Jeewantha and Kithsiri Ananda. (Chaturanga Pradeep, Ranjith Ferdinandus and T.K.G.Kapila)