3 women caught smuggling gold worth $619k in bras

PHOTO: Hakodate Customs

SAPPORO - Three Taiwan women were arrested on suspicion of hiding gold in their bras in an attempt to smuggle about 10.5 kilograms of gold bullion into Japan, according to the Hokkaido prefectural police.

The police said Monday they had arrested the three, including a 47-year-old who described herself as a company employee, for violating the Customs Law.

The three women each had two bowl-shaped pieces of gold in pockets inside their bras, the police said. Each piece was 11 centimeters in diameter, with a market value of about ¥50 million (S$619,000) for all six.

They brought the gold to Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido from Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport on Nov. 11, according to the police.

The women are suspected of trying to avoid paying about ¥4 million in consumption tax on importing the gold, they said. A female customs official at the airport detected the bowls while conducting a body search.

A man they met through an acquaintance in Taiwan in August last year allegedly asked them to bring the gold to a man in Japan, with each woman to receive a reward of 20,000 Taiwan dollars (about ¥72,500).