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日本大妈走私黄金,单次金额上百万美元

更新时间:2017-6-17 10:16:00 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Gangsters, Grandmothers and Gold: Japan’s New Crime Wave
日本大妈走私黄金,单次金额上百万美元

TOKYO — Sometimes the perpetrators are gangsters. Sometimes they are rather less accustomed to the criminal life. In one case, the ringleader of a middle-aged, female crime ring was said to be a 66-year-old woman.

东京——有时候案犯是帮派成员。有时候则是一些对犯罪生活远没有那么习以为常的人。一起案件中,一个中年女性犯罪团伙的头目,据说是一名66岁女子。

An old-fashioned crime is experiencing a resurgence in Japan: gold smuggling. Authorities say they are contending with a startling rise in the amount of gold being brought illegally into the country. The smugglers — an array of professional criminals and enterprising amateurs — profit by dodging import duties and taxes, in some cases worth millions of dollars. Arrests have jumped 40-fold in just a few years.

在日本,黄金走私这种旧式的犯罪活动正经历复兴。当局称,他们正设法应对以惊人的速度增长的入境黄金走私。走私者——一群专业罪犯和大胆的非专业人士——通过避开进口税获利,走私金额有时高达数百万美元。短短几年间,因此被捕的人数竟增加了40倍。

The smuggling has gained national attention because of a spate of high-profile episodes, including a brazen gold robbery by thieves dressed as police officers; the seizure of multimillion-dollar gold cargoes from fishing boats and private jets; and the foiling of the smuggling ring the police have said was organized by a 66-year-old housewife.

黄金走私引起国际社会的重视,是因为接连发生了一系列夺人眼球的事件。其中包括:盗贼扮成警察公然抢劫黄金;经由渔船和私人飞机运送的价值数百万美元的黄金被扣;还有一个据警方说由一名66岁家庭主妇组建的走私团伙被摧毁。

Crime rates in Japan are among the world’s lowest and have been falling further as the population ages. But some nonviolent crimes, like shoplifting or embezzlement, have remained more common than other offenses — say, murder or armed robbery.

日本是世界上犯罪率最低的国家之一,而且随着人口的老龄化,其犯罪率还在进一步下降。但一些非暴力犯罪,比如行窃或贪污,一向比谋杀或持械抢劫之类的其他犯罪更常见。

Experts say gold smuggling is the type of crime that might appeal even in law-and-order Japan: It requires no violence, has no victims except state coffers and does not call for an aging person to carry a gun.

专家称,即便是在崇尚法律和秩序的日本,黄金走私或许也是一种颇为诱人的犯罪:它无需暴力,除了国库以外没有受害者,也不需要让上了年纪的人持枪。

This month, police in central Japan arrested five women in their 50s and 60s on suspicion of hiding nearly 70 pounds of gold in their clothing on flights from South Korea, a haul worth about $1.2 million.

本月,日本中部的警察逮捕了五名五六十岁的女性,她们涉嫌在来自韩国的航班上把将近70磅黄金藏在衣服里,总价值约为120万美元。

The woman accused of leading the group, the 66-year-old, admitted making eight such trips in the past three years, according to police. Criminals in Japan covered the airfare and hotel bills of her and her companions and paid them $200 to $400 per pound of smuggled gold. (The women were in custody and could not be reached for comment, directly or through legal representatives.)

警方称,被控领导该团伙的一名现年66岁的女性承认,在过去三年里安排了八趟这样的行程。日本的犯罪分子为她和她的同伴报销飞机票和住酒店的费用,每走私一磅黄金付给她们200至400美元酬劳。(这些女子遭到拘留,记者未能与其取得联系并请其直接置评或通过法律代表置评。)

Some smugglers work on a larger scale.

一些走私者会干更大手笔的买卖。

The coast guard said last month that it stopped a fishing boat loaded with about 460 pounds of gold, worth roughly $9.1 million. In a separate case in December, two men connected to a yakuza crime syndicate, the Inagawa-kai, were arrested at an airport in Okinawa after flying in from Macau with 250 pounds of gold stashed aboard a Gulfstream private jet.

日本海上保安厅上月称其截停的一艘渔船载有约460磅黄金,价值约为910万美元。在去年12月的另一起案件中,两名与黑帮犯罪集团稻川会(Inagawa-kai)有关联的男子在冲绳的一个机场被捕,他们是从澳门乘一架湾流(Gulfstream)私人飞机入境的,在飞机上藏匿了250磅黄金。

Smugglers have sometimes become targets. Two who were on their way to a cash-for-gold shop in Fukuoka last year were confronted by criminals in police uniforms who relieved them of cases containing several hundred pounds of gold bars, worth $6.9 million. Six men were arrested last month in connection with the robbery.

走私者自己有时会被人盯上。去年,两名走私者前往福冈一家经营现金换黄金业务的店铺途中,与身着警服的犯罪分子遭遇,那些人拿走了他们随身携带的箱子,箱中装有几百磅金条,价值690万美元。与这起劫案有关的六名男子于上月被捕。

Gold smugglers are essentially profiting from the tax law.

黄金走私者实际上是靠税法获利。

The police say the smuggled gold comes from places where purchases are not taxed, like Hong Kong or Macau. It is ferreted in mostly by plane, either directly or through neighboring South Korea, which shares air links with many Japanese cities. The smugglers, unlike legitimate importers, hide their cargoes from customs agents and skip an 8 percent duty on gold brought into the country.

警方称,走私的黄金来自购买时无需交税的地方,比如香港或澳门。它们大多是由从邻国韩国直飞日本或者在那里中转的飞机运进来的,韩国与日本的很多城市都通航。走私者和合法的进口商不同,会让自己的货物避开海关人员的视线,避缴日本对进口黄金征收的8%的税。

Once in Japan, the gold is sold at pawnshoplike cash-for-gold stores. Such enterprises pay sellers, even individual ones, the value of the metal in addition to sales tax. That is the key to profit: Smugglers pocket the tax portion, netting an automatic gain of 8 percent. While the margin might sound small, for a commodity worth more than $1,000 an ounce, the money can quickly add up. A sales tax increase in 2014 expanded the potential for profit.

与此同时,在日本,走私黄金会被卖到类似于当铺的以现金换黄金的店铺里。这些店铺会向卖方支付黄金的价款外加消费税——哪怕对方身为个人。这是获利的关键:走私者把税钱揣进腰包,自动获取8%的收益。利润看似不大,但这是一种每盎司价值1000多美元的商品,赚的钱很快就能积少成多。2014年的消费税上调让利润空间得到了拓展。

The risks, by contrast, can seem small.

相比之下,风险看起来会很小。

While it is impossible to know how many smugglers avoid detection, specialists say most probably do. A man and a woman arrested on suspicion of gold smuggling in 2009 said they had made 56 round trips to Hong Kong and Australia, netting a profit of $1.4 million, before getting caught, according to records collected by customs authorities.

专家称,虽然无法知道有多少走私者避开了盘查,但大多数人很可能都避开了。根据海关当局收集的记录,因涉嫌走私黄金在2009年被捕的一男一女说,他们被捕前到香港和澳大利亚去过56趟,赚了140万美元。

The unlucky few who do get caught are typically charged only with evading the sales tax, an offense that carries a maximum fine of about $90,000. Once the fine is paid, the gold is usually returned, customs officials said.

运气不好被逮到的少数人,通常只会被控逃缴消费税。针对这一罪行的罚金上限是9万美元。海关官员说,一旦缴清罚金,黄金通常会被返还。

Smuggling cases have multiplied. During the decade before the sales tax increase, police arrested about 10 people on suspicion of gold smuggling-related tax evasion in a typical year, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Finance. In 2015, there were 294 arrests, a pace that continued last year, officials say, though official figures for 2016 are not yet available.

黄金走私案的数量已急剧增多。根据日本财务省汇编的数据,消费税上调前的十年间,警方一年通常只会以涉嫌从事与黄金走私相关的逃税活动为由,逮捕约10人。而在2015年共有294人被捕,2016年的官方数字尚未公布,但官员称,这一趋势去年还在继续。

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