Three nabbed at Johannesburg airport with gold in carry-on bags

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African police are investigating a possible international gold smuggling syndicate after three suspects were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg with gold bars weighing 73.5 kilogrammes in their carry-on luggage.

The gold bullion, worth an estimated USD4.1 million, looked suspicious when the three put their bags through a security check, according to the police.

“Upon questioning of the suspects and further inspection of their hand luggage, officials discovered the gold bars and some foreign currency,” said police spokeswoman Colonel Athlenda Mathe.

The suspects provided police with certification papers for the gold and South African authorities will work with Interpol and the countries involved to verify the origin and destination of the gold bars, she said.

The three Madagascar nationals, who were travelling from Madagascar to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) via South Africa and Ethiopia, made their first court appearance on Monday and are due back in court for a formal bail application on January 12.

Gold bars weighing 73.5 kilogrammes that was confiscated at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. PHOTO: AP