File picture: AP

Colombo - A Sri Lankan man who raised suspicion by the way he kept looking around in an airport departure lounge was found to be carrying nearly a kilogram (2.2 lb) of gold stashed in his rectum, a customs official said on Monday.

The 45-year-old, headed for India, was arrested at Colombo airport on Sunday after customs officials noticed "suspicious movements", customs spokesman Sunil Jayarathne told Reuters.

The suspect was carrying 904.77 grams of gold worth 4.5 million rupees ($29 577), but was freed after payment of 100 000 rupees, he said. Such methods of smuggling were not unusual, he said.

"The gold was wrapped in plastic bags inserted in to his rectum," Jayarathne said, adding that there were four bags.

"This is not the first such detection and this is a common method of smuggling."