I am re-posting this message for awareness.
How to deal with the Customs Officials in Mumbai International Airport?
Look Confident. :) And Talk more Confidently.
I am an Indian Citizen and in August 2012 was the first time I traveled to India on business. I was travelling with a colleague who is an American. We went to Taiwan and from Taiwan to Mumbai.
And of course, when we reached Mumbai, my American colleague was let through...he was carrying a SLR Cam, a Laptop, a Kindle, a portable DVD Player, and a Smart Phone. And of course, I was stopped by the Customs Officer for through check when I was carrying 3 electronics devices (Laptop, iPhone and Kindle) as opposed to 5 things my colleague was carrying.
I am very annoyed by the discrimination and made it very clear to the Officer that I am annoyed. He demanded the prices of my Kindle and my Laptop. I asked him to give me his phone with International calling so that I can call my Employer in US for the price of the Laptop and my husband for the price of the Kindle. That shut him up.
Then he opened my bags and started quizzing me on what is this and what is that. I told him to check and re-pack, as I am NOT going to pack up after them.
Then next he started quizzing me on how much liquor I bought in Duty free..which was the tip of it all. I sternly told him that I have been travelling back and forth for 8 years from the US to India, and know all the rules. So, he is free to check everything he wants in my luggage, I sat on a nearby chair and told him I will wait with my Colleague while he checks it all.
That did it. He asked me to leave when he realized I am not going to come around and get scared and pay him any money in bribes. I was confident that I am abiding by all rules so he cannot hold me for any reason.
Unfortunately, this same incident happened to my husband last year (2011) and this year it was repeated with me. So, I was aware, but I know a lot of people are not prepared. I hope this post helps.
Bottom line is, Customs Officers in Mumbai International Airport are going back to their Corrupt ways, which is disappointing. This should be progressing forward and not going backwards.
Be confident. Don't offer money to settle the matter if you know what you are doing is legal.
Check the website for details: