Osaka Prefectural Police arrested four Korean women, including Lee Pu-reun, 27, over customs law violations for allegedly trying to smuggle gold plates from Incheon International Airport through Kansai International Airport on April 11, and Osaka Customs officials took the case to the Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.
According to police and Kansai airport customs officials, the four suspects sewed inner pockets into their corsets to conceal the gold plates. They were caught after a customs officer flagged down one of the women for a search because she seemed suspicious with her head turned down.
Lee, who is in the clothing sales business, told police she had a supervisory role over the three women and was “acting on instructions from a woman in Korea.”
“We picked up the gold from a man near the boarding gate at Incheon International Airport,” Lee said. “Then went into a disabled toilet and hid the gold in three undergarments.”
Police said each of the three women were hiding 10 plates in their corsets, and one admitted they “smuggled 30 times since last summer.”
Lee said she was earning a commission of 150,000 yen per run, while the other three suspects made between 30,000 yen and 40,000 yen.
Authorities said gold worth over 200,000 yen must be declared to customs and is subject to an 8 percent consumption tax.
By selling the gold at precious metals shops, authorities believe the suspects could have dodged about 10.8 million yen in consumption tax.
Kansai International Airport has seen 53 gold smuggling cases totaling 250 kilograms so far this year, which is said to be twice as much as last year.