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Japan-Update

Gold smugglers take a shine to Japan

Tax hike provides a lucrative opportunity as crimes become more sophisticated

Gold smugglers are striking it rich with budget airlines since these carriers often use the same aircraft for domestic and international flights.

TOKYO/BEIJING -- It was midway through Vanilla Air Flight JW172 on July 9 when one of the cabin attendants doing clean-up duty found something peculiar -- in the toilet toward the rear of the aircraft, a panel that was normally screwed tight to the wall was out of position. Peering inside the space the panel had covered, the attendant found three black pouches. Three more pouches were found stashed in a similar place in another toilet on the plane.

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