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5 suspects caught with R78 million worth of 'undeclared' currency

The passengers were due to fly to the UAE last night but were cornered while boarding their plane.

Eleven bags, in which the currency was held and which were sealed in front of the travelers, has now been handed over to the South African Reserve Bank. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Customs officials have arrested five suspects at OR Tambo International Airport after they were caught with around R78 million worth of 'undeclared' currency.

The passengers were due to fly to the United Arab Emirates last night but were cornered while boarding the plane.

Eleven bags, in which the currency was held and which were sealed in front of the travellers, has now been handed over to the South African Reserve Bank.

South African Revenue Service (Sars) spokesperson Luther Lebelo says the reserve bank will determine whether any criminal action will be taken.

"The matter has been handed over to the South African Reserve Bank for further investigations before we can open a case with the police. Once the reserve bank is satisfied that there is an element of criminality, they can take the matter with the police."

The passengers were in possession of eight luggage bags and four backpacks.

Upon noticing the Sars officials, the passengers retreated and headed back to the entrance of the boarding gate, officials then closed the boarding gate door and the passengers were compelled to wait for them.

Pictures: Supplied.