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Credit card, traveler's check...or 125 kg of coins?


Travelers have many strategies for buying while traveling, with credit cards the most popular today, replacing the travelers' checks of years ago—but nothing has completely replaced cash, at least in the minds of two recent tourists to Scandinavia, who brought in huge amounts of coins.

The most recent incident, last Friday, involved a traveler from Shanghai who arrived at Oslo by way of Moscow with a suitcase and four burlap sacks full of Norwegian 10 and 20 kroner coins (equivalent to about $1.15 or $2.30). All told, the weight was over 125 kilos. Because he had not declared the currency, he and his hoard were detained at the airport.

The final resolution hasn't been reported yet, but if no criminal activity is found, the man may still be subject to a 20% penalty for not declaring the money. He told police he had bought the coins at home for about 15,000 kroner ($1760), far less than their face value of 220,000 kroner, or nearly $26,000.

In a similar incident in Denmark in 2013, two tourists from China were held for 48 days while police investigated their treasure, which turned out to have been purchased in China from a scrap-metal dealer.


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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