NEW DELHI, April 22 (UPI) -- Surgeons in New Delhi, India, operating on a man who claimed he accidentally swallowed a plastic bottle cap, found 12 gold bars in his stomach.
The unidentified man, 63, apparently smuggled and then swallowed the gold bars, each weighing 33 grams (1.16 ounces), to evade India’s import duty of 10 percent. At the current price, he swallowed $17,831 in gold to escape a duty of $1,783.
“We couldn’t make out they were gold bars by yes, X-rays showed there was an intestinal blockage which required surgery. It was unexpected,” said Dr. C.S. Ramachandran.
After the surgery, the hospital handed the gold over to the police. The gold has been sent to India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs, which is investigating the incident, said Alok Kumar, deputy police commissioner.
The country from which the gold was allegedly smuggled was not named, but Kumar added the patient was discharged from the hospital and is in good condition.
India is the second-largest gold market in the world, after China, the World Gold Council said.