Sri Lanka arrests man with gold-filled bottom

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Sri Lanka arrests man with gold-filled bottom

Colombo (AFP) - Sri Lanka customs arrested an India-bound air passenger attempting with "difficulty" to smuggle nearly one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of gold stuffed in his rectum, a spokesman said Monday.

Officials were alerted when the 45-year-old Sri Lankan behaved "suspiciously" at Colombo airport's departure lounge on Sunday, spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said.

"He was called for a thorough screening after customs officers noticed him walking with difficulty and appearing to be in pain," Jayaratne told AFP.

He said a close examination revealed the gold wrapped in black plastic sheets.

Among the 904 grams of gold recovered were seven yellow "biscuits" and six chains. The haul was valued at 4.5 million rupees ($30,000).

Jayaratne said the contraband was seized and the man fined 100,000 rupees. He described him as a courier for an organised smuggling ring.

Sri Lanka allows passengers leaving the island to carry a reasonable quantity of personal jewellery. It also allows imports of precious metals at a low tax.

Smuggling is usually carried out as part of money-laundering schemes or to transfer proceeds from drug sales, Jayaratne said.