HAKODATE, Hokkaido -- Three Taiwanese women were arrested and sent to prosecutors for allegedly trying to smuggle gold in their bras through an airport here, police said on March 19.
The three suspects, Shu-Fen Chiu, 47, Yu-Ting Chiu, 20, and Hui-Ying Chang, 47, were reportedly caught at Hakodate airport on Nov. 11, 2017, with a total of roughly 10.5 kilograms of gold bullion concealed inside pockets sewn over their bras.
The trio stands accused of violating laws including the Customs Act, and all have apparently admitted to the allegations, according to Hokkaido Prefectural Police.
Hakodate Customs confirmed that the three women were caught with bowl-shaped pieces of gold in cloth pockets stitched over their bras -- with each suspect carrying two pieces weighing 1.75 kilograms each, with a diameter of 11 centimeters. The market value of the gold is said to be about 50 million yen (roughly $471,000).
A female customs employee apparently noticed that the areas around the trio's breasts were extremely hard during a customs inspection and then found the gold after a second check. The examinations were made after the suspects alighted a plane arriving from Taiwan.
The women are quoted as saying, "We were ordered to hand over the gold," and, "We were supposed to receive a payment of about 72,000 yen (roughly $680) each in return." Police suspect that the smuggling may have been coordinated by an organized crime gang.