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Five women handed suspended sentences for smuggling gold in underwear

Li Bangja
Li Bangja

AICHI (TR) – The Nagoya District Court on Tuesday handed five women, including four Korean nationals, suspended prison terms for the smuggling of 30 kilograms of gold into the country from Korea last year, reports Nippon News Network (June 1).

On December 12, Naoko Ishikawa, a 59-year-old resident of Nagasaki Prefecture, Li Bangja, 67, and three other Korean nationals arrived at Chubu Centrair International Airport on a flight from Incheon International Airport with a total of 30 bars of gold, weighing one kilogram each, concealed around their bodies.

Li, who was the ringleader, was handed an 18-month term, while the other four defendants received one-year sentences. All sentences were suspended for three years.

The gold bars, valued at around 130 million yen, were sewn into the women’s corsets and underpants. Without claiming the precious metals with Japan Customs, the suspects were evading about 10 million yen in taxes, police said at the time of the arrest of the women.

“The concealing of the gold in undergarments played an indispensable role in the smuggling of the gold,” the presiding judge said.

The gold was purchased by a person in Hong Kong and given to the suspects at the airport in Korea, police said. The women are known to have previously arrived at airports in Osaka and Fukuoka in the past, leading police to suspect that they committed the same crime repeatedly.

Missing 20 bars

A woman who has fled to Korea paid the suspects 10,000 yen per bar of gold. On that trip to Japan, each suspect carried 10 bars. Police never located the other 20 bars.

The judge said that the sentences were suspended because the defendants had reflected up on their actions and served as subordinate members of a smuggling ring.