OSLO: A Chinese tourist was stopped at Oslo Airport with four burlap sacks filled with 125 kilos of Norwegian coins, customs officials said here the other day.
The tourist arrived in Oslo from Shanghai via Moscow on Friday with four sacks full of Norwegian ten and 20 kroner coins that he said he had purchased from various coin dealers in China.
The 29-year-old Chinese citizen also had coins in his checked luggage.
“On the luggage trolley were a rolling suitcase and four colourful burlap sacks. He was due to stay with a friend in Oslo for five days,” custom official Hans Wilhelmsen said.
The tourist told officials that he had paid the equivalent of 15,000 kroner for the coins, which turned out to be a steal.
“Officials uncovered coins worth 220,970 kroner in the man’s baggage and checked luggage. The coins weighed a total of 125 kilogrammes,” the statement from customs said.
Because the man had not declared the currency, he and his coins were transferred to the Oslo Police at the passport.
While the man’s fate was not immediately known, he risks having the entire amount confiscated if Norwegian Customs suspects criminal activity. If no criminal activity is suspected, customs officials will impose a 20 percent penalty on the money.
A similar incident sprung up in Denmark in 2013 when two Chinese citizens were detained for 48 days after bringing a large bag of Danish coins that were originally thought to be counterfeit.
The two tourists were allowed to go free after the Danish central bank determined that the coins, which totaled over €32,000 were legit and obtained in China from a scrap metal consignment company.