Suitcase filled with $1.5m of gold and cash found at Beirut airport

A general view shows Beirut's international airport, Lebanon. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2019
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Suitcase filled with $1.5m of gold and cash found at Beirut airport

  • The gold was found inside a suitcase by a passerby on Sunday and handed to airport security

CAIRO: A suitcase containing $1.5 million of gold and cash was discovered in the car park of Lebanon’s main airport.

The gold was found inside a suitcase by a passerby on Sunday and handed to airport security, Lebanon’s state news agency reported.

Internal security forces at Rafic Hariri International Airport  examined the suitcase and found 14.95 kilograms of gold inside, worth approximately $675,000, along with €632,000 and $170,000 in cash.

The security forces said the suitcase belonged to a Lebanese national who had travelled from Togo to Ethiopia before boarding an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Beirut.

After contacting the suitcase owner, the authorities found that the owner had announced the amount of gold that had been carried, but did not reveal the wads of cash inside the suitcase.

The statement said authorities had arrested the suitcase owner.


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 31 min 31 sec ago
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.