HAKODATE, HOKKAIDO PREF. – A Japanese court gave three Taiwanese women suspended sentences Wednesday after finding them guilty of attempting to smuggle gold worth ¥50 million ($453,000) into the country by hiding it in their bras.
The Hakodate District Court in Hokkaido handed down one-year prison terms to Qiu Shu-fen, 47, and her 20-year-old daughter Qiu Yu-ting, as well as Zhang Hui-ying, 47. Each woman’s sentence is suspended for three years.
Presiding Judge Takeshi Hashimoto said in the ruling, “There is no room for leniency as the three committed the crime with a motive to receive money,” but added that the sentences were suspended as they have shown remorse.
According to the ruling, the women each carried two pieces of gold hidden in pockets attached to their bras when they arrived at Hakodate Airport from Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport on Nov. 11.
Each piece of gold, all confiscated by the authorities, was 11 centimeters long and weighed about 1.75 kilograms.
Prosecutors had sought one-year prison terms and the confiscation of the gold, claiming the defendants had been offered travel expenses to Japan and 20,000 New Taiwan dollars ($670) in exchange for smuggling the pieces of precious metal.
Defense lawyers, meanwhile, had sought suspended prison terms, arguing that the three had merely transported the gold.