One of the main accused in the 60-kilogram gold smuggling case, involving a cargo of gold hidden inside scooter brake shoes, has been apprehended in India.
The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) team had intercepted the massive gold haul during a cargo inspection on July 18 at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. The gold, cleverly concealed within the brake shoes of scooters, had evaded customs detection. This contraband, weighing a staggering 60.716 kilograms, had been brought into Nepal via a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Hong Kong.
The Chinese national, Yongxin Peng, who goes by the alias “Asin,” managed to flee to India following the gold’s confiscation. According to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, which has been investigating the case, Yongxin Peng was arrested by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) of India. His arrest occurred while attempting to cross into India through the Kharibari area of Siliguri in West Bengal, as reported by India Today on July 20.
During the interrogation, Yongxin Peng presented a Nepali citizenship certificate obtained from the District Administration Office, Kavre. However, authorities also discovered a Chinese passport and several other documents, raising suspicions of potential involvement in espionage, as reported by various Indian media outlets.
The CIB has received information that the Indian investigation into the Chinese national has not yet concluded. “It is not yet known whether he would be handed over to us as he is a Chinese national. We don’t even have those kinds of treaties. It is not easy to bring him,” stated a source from the CIB.
Yongxin Peng is believed to have overseen the gold smuggling racket’s godown in Tokha and is suspected to be a key figure in the gold smuggling operation. He is thought to be an associate of Daojin Wang, considered the kingpin of the racket.
The CIB has completed its investigations into the case and submitted the investigation report to the District Government Attorney’s Office in Kathmandu. A total of 50 defendants have been implicated in the case.
Among the defendants, 32 have been arrested, including 23 Nepalis and nine foreigners. Meanwhile, 18 defendants remain at large, comprising 14 foreigners and four Nepalis. Notably, Amala Rokka Magar, who has close ties to CPN (Maoist Center) leaders, is among the absconding defendants. However, her husband, Dawa Tsering, a Belgian national, has been arrested and is considered a significant apprehension in the ongoing investigation.