By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Feb. 9: On Sunday, three Nepalis returning from Dubai were detained from the parking area for internal arrivals at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Acting upon suspicion over the trio, the Metropolitan Police Airport Security Office (MPASO) had searched their belongings. They have been identified as Padam Bahadur Adhikari, 30, of Morang; Samir Rasaili, 22, of Jhapa; and Man Singh Bishwakarma, 30, of Morang. Police confiscated a gold chain, a Dell laptop, two iPhones and a Pixel phone of Google from each of the trio. They had arrived by Jazeera Air with a transit in Kuwait.
“When the trio was interrogated regarding the items, we found that Gokul Dallakoti, a resident of Makwanpur district, had come to receive them at the airport,” read a statement of the MPASO. As per the statement, Dallakoti admitted he owned the nine phones, three laptops and three gold chains and had come to the airport for collecting them. The trio and Dallakoti were then handed over to the TIA Customs Office in Gauchar, Kathmandu, for further investigation and legal process.
Similarly, four days ago on February 2, two other individuals were arrested with each carrying four iPhones 13 Pro Max and gold jewelleries weighing 50 grams from the TIA’s Welcome Gate. They were also handed over to the Customs. “The government has set some restrictions on duty exempted goods which a Nepali passenger returning from abroad can bring with him/her. More similar goods, under a limitation, can be brought if the Customs charge is paid,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bhim Prasad Dhakal. SSP Dhakal, who is also the chief at MPASO, added that nobody is allowed to bring more goods than that set by the government. As per the rule, only one laptop or tablet, video camera, camera, watch and mobile phone is exempted from duty clearance for one passenger arriving at the TIA.
“What we have seen is that several passengers bring electronic devices as per the limitations but hand it over to someone else after arriving in Nepal. It means a mobile phone brought by four individuals is given to a receiver or the major investor,” said Mahesh Bhattarai, chief at the TIA Customs Office. According to Bhattarai, nobody is allowed to bring goods for commercial purpose without paying the tax.
“We allow passengers working as carriers to leave because they had brought the electronic goods as per the law. However, the collector faces legal action,” said Bhattarai. Earlier in March, 2021, the MPASO arrested Shisir Rai, a resident of Bhojpur, from the TIA as he was collecting five drones, eight camera batteries, branded shoes, T-shirts and perfumes from international arrivals.
“One needs a permission from respective local level to use drones for filming something. The individual needs to present the bill of the drone to get the permission. It is why people fear using smuggled drones as they can easily get caught. We need a similar restriction in mobile phones and laptops as well,” said Bhattarai.
Bhattarai suggested that if unregistered phones or laptops didn’t operate and avail of services like internet in Nepal, its smuggling would automatically be mitigated.