CAL fires flight attendant for alleged gold smuggling

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) China Airlines (CAL) said Tuesday that it has fired a flight attendant based on information that the employee had allegedly attempted to smuggle 6 kilograms of gold into the country.

“A cabin crew member on duty was reportedly found by Japanese Customs to be carrying an excessive amount of gold” on arrival in Japan, CAL said in a statement, adding that it will work closely with Japanese authorities on the matter.

CAL, one of Taiwan’s largest airlines, said that when it was notified of the incident, it called a meeting and decided to fire the employee.

According to Taiwan media reports, the flight attendant had picked up the bag containing 6 kilograms of gold at the bonded luggage counter at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after she cleared security ahead of her flight’s departure to Osaka on Feb. 10.

The bag had been left at the bonded luggage counter under someone else’s name, the reports said.

In the news reports, Taiwan’s aviation police were cited as saying that the case was probably just the tip of the iceberg, as they had found an advertisement in a flight attendants’ social media group about gold smuggling.

The offer made in the advertisement was NT$5,500 (US$187) for every kilogram of gold a flight attendant brought into Japan, the police were cited as saying.

The incidence of gold smuggling in Japan has been rising recently since the government in 2014 imposed an 8 percent consumption tax on all goods, according to Japanese media.

As a result of the reported smuggling problem, the Japanese government has been mulling stricter penalties for gold smugglers, the country’s media said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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