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Economy

Nepal takes central role in China-India gold smuggling

Poor infrastructure and lax security blamed for upsurge

Gold bars stacked in a safe deposit room.   © Reuters

KATHMANDU -- The silver car drove over 100km through the hairpin turns along the landslide-prone mountain road from Nepal's northern border with Tibet to Kathmandu, arriving in the capital just before midnight on Sept. 3. Hidden in the trunk was a precious cargo -- 88 bars of gold, each wrapped in black tape, and worth $4.2 million in total.

A police squad from the Kathmandu Metropolitan Crime Division waited for several hours before making its pre-dawn raid on the car and its 24-year-old driver. The car was then driven about 5km south to the police station, where four policemen, aided by mechanics, spent hours taking it apart and uncovering the 88kg of shining yellow metal.

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