Athletes tricked into smuggling liquor

Athletes tricked into smuggling liquor

August 3, 2010   09:54 am


Yet another instance of exploitation of innocence came to the fore when at the India Tiruchy airport, a group of athletes, 11 to 22 years old, were found carrying duty-free liquor. All of them had flown in on flight from Colombo after an athletic meet there.



The athletes from Tiruchy were each given a bag by some “unknown” passengers, and told to “just” carry the bag out of the airport complex.



“I do not know the name of the passenger who handed the bag to me. I refused to carry it at first but they forcefully kept it along with my luggage,” said a 12-year-old who won three silver medals in the Chennai-Colombo Junior Athletic Meet held in Sri Lanka.



“They said they would collect it once I was outside the airport complex. We did not know what was in the bag,” another athlete (16), who bagged gold in 100m, said.



Of the 21 athletes, at least 10 were found holding bags carrying liquor bottles. Yet the team coach seems not to have noticed anything out of the ordinary. When asked, Suganthi Annavi, team coordinator and coach, claimed “unknown passengers” had asked her also to carry a bag but she had refused to do so. “Still, without my knowledge, they got the juniors to do it for them.”



As per duty-free shopping norms, any international air passenger is allowed to carry upto two liquor bottles bought from the duty free shop. Manipulating this provision, the ingenious liquor “smugglers” used the young athletes to carry their contraband for them through customs, two bottles per person.



Sources said the “unknown co-passengers” had with them a full and complete list of all the athletes, with their full details.



Two unidentified persons later came to the airport, collected the bags and made a hurried exit.


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