Police raid on platinum smugglers

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The Independent Online

South African detectives have smashed five syndicates believed to represent the world's biggest platinum-smuggling ring and charged 46 people, including two police officers, with theft and illicit trading. The country is the world's principal producer of platinum, which is more valuable than gold and is used in catalytic converters for cars and for toughening steel. Jewellery platinum is $425 (£290) an ounce.

South African detectives have smashed five syndicates believed to represent the world's biggest platinum-smuggling ring and charged 46 people, including two police officers, with theft and illicit trading. The country is the world's principal producer of platinum, which is more valuable than gold and is used in catalytic converters for cars and for toughening steel. Jewellery platinum is $425 (£290) an ounce.

Captain Ronnie Naidoo, a police spokesman, said 150 officers were involved in the two-year, top-secret investigation, Operation Gold. Nearly 44,000kg of unrefined platinum (platina), estimated to be worth £680,000, had been seized. The arrested policemen had been smelting stolen metal at home and selling the nuggets.

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