Two thieves trying to smuggle gold worth $1.6 million from the Soviet Union's far east were caught when police became suspicious of the container in which it was hidden - a large salmon.

The thieves had placed packets containing gold dust in the fish's belly, police officer Vladimir Shcherbakov from Omsk in Siberia told the Interfax news agency. They were arrested by a special squad on a train.Shcherbakov said the gold was stolen from a mine near Magadan in the heart of the Soviet gold fields.