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NEW DELHI - You've heard of people described as having hearts of gold, but what about someone with a belly full of the precious metal? That's what doctors in New Delhi found, when a man arrived from overseas in severe discomfort.

Some of what you'll see and here next may upset your stomach. The smuggler's apparent attempt to evade taxes did not have a glittering end.

Gold is the metal most precious to the population of India. It's a symbol of wealth, power and beauty.

Twelve gold bars were removed from the stomach of a 63-year-old man. Each of the objects weighed 33 grams, which might now sound like much, but each is valuable not just to the owner, but also the Indian government. In total they'd command an import duty of $17,000, and it's little wonder some people would go to extreme lengths to try to avoid that.

The suspected smuggler visited a New Delhi hospital after arriving from abroad this month. Doctors say he complained of severe stomach pain and nausea, claiming to have swallowed the cap of a plastic bottle. But what medics found when they were forced to operate was rather more pricey, and presumably more painful.

The gold bars are now in police care and the patient is under investigation for tax evasion, which certainly takes the shine off his import experiment.

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