Skip to main content

Smuggler caught with 160 Intel CPUs strapped to his body

A Chinese national was recently caught entering China with 160 Intel processors strapped to his body, an act that customs officials amount to smuggling. The China Customs office stated that it had found Intel’s 11th Gen and the latest 12th Gen Alder Lake models strapped to the man’s abdomen, waist, and legs.

Since none of the items were declared, the smuggling could be part of a tax-evasion scheme to avoid import tariffs on computer components.

Related Videos
Video shows a person standing next to a table holding some of the 160 Intel CPUs that a man tried to smuggle into the country and a close-up of the CPUs.
Source: China Customs office

Given the already short supply of semiconductors in the past few years due to scalpers, high demand, cryptocurrency miners, the coronavirus, and production issues, chip mules are yet another culprit affecting the world’s shortage of CPUs and GPUs. Chinese officials in recent days also seized a large number of unlawful imports of AMD Radeon graphics cards.

What tipped off customs officials in the Intel smuggling scheme is the abnormal nature of the man’s walking posture.

“At about 1 a.m. that day, a man named Zeng entered the country through the customs ‘no declaration channel’ at the travel inspection site of Gongbei Port,” the China Customs office said in a statement posted on VideoCardz. “Customs officers found that his walking posture was abnormal and stopped him for inspection. After further inspection, customs officers seized a total of 160 CPUs and a total of 16 folded mobile phones tied with tape on the inner side of his calf, waist and abdomen.”

Local media have dubbed the caught man “Walking CPU” or “CPU-Man” for his role in the scheme.

According to China’s laws, individuals are permitted to bring in items that are “limited to their own use and a reasonable quantity,” and any evasion of customs laws constitutes an act of smuggling.

An Intel Alder Lake Core i5-12600K CPU and its packaging.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

In a separate earlier AMD case, officials noted that as many as 5,840 graphics cards valued at $3 million were seized. Officials claimed that the AMD Radeon cards had incorrect labels in an effort to conceal them and avoid import taxes.

While these two most recent cases affect computer processors and graphics cards, the global semiconductor shortage has more broad affects. Chip shortages have resulted in shortages of cars, leading to higher prices and the omission of certain features, as well as low supplies of gaming consoles and other personal electronic devices. The high demand for consumer electronics coupled with the short supply of chips have rewarded scalpers and resellers, and companies like Nvidia and AMD have tried to implement various ways to curb scalping bots and make their GPUs less appealing to crypto miners in an attempt to service their core PC and gaming demographics first.

In 2021, another Chinese national was caught smuggling 304 Intel 10th-gen Core i7 and Core i9 processors. The value of the CPUs was estimated at $123,550, according to VideoCardz.

Editors' Recommendations

AMD CES 2023: Ryzen 9 7950X3D, mobile Ryzen 7000, and more
AMD CEO Lisa Su delivering AMD's CES 2023 keynote.

AMD's CES 2023 keynote is over, officially kicking off the show (although, most of the major announcements are already out of the way). Team Red had a lot to share, including Ryzen 7000X3D parts, Ryzen 7000 mobile CPUs, and new RX 7000 mobile GPUs. To catch you up, here's everything AMD announced at CES 2023.
XDNA and Ryzen 7000 mobile

AMD started off its presentation with a bit about its XDNA architecture, and critically, how it powers a new Ryzen AI engine in Ryzen 7000 mobile CPUs. AMD has a full stack available, but it highlighted the 7040 and 7045 series during its keynote. The 7040 series goes up to eight cores and 28 watts, and it's built using the same Zen 4 architecture as desktop Ryzen 7000 CPUs. In fact, it uses the same chiplet design as desktop CPUs, just in different packaging.

Read more
CES 2023: AMD is bringing RDNA 3 graphics to some Ryzen 7000 laptop CPUs
The Navi 31 GPU.

AMD's CES keynote address contained lots of exciting details for new mobile graphics, but alongside dedicated RDNA3 mobile GPUs, AMD also has a range of onboard graphics options to tempt new laptop buyers. Throughout its new line of Ryzen 7000 mobile processors, AMD is leveraging all of its recent graphics architectures, including Vega and RDNA 2, with some of the top chips even getting access to as many as 12 RDNA 3 cores, for some incredibly efficient mobile gaming.

AMD is complicating its mobile CPU naming scheme this generation, so it needed a detailed slide to break it down during the CES 2023 keynote. This gave us a key look at the GPU technologies at play, highlighting that while Vega is still sticking around in Ryzen 7030 series processors -- paired with a Zen 3 CPU core design -- RDNA 2 will be much more prevalent. In the Ryzen 7040 series, RDNA 3 will also be available, alongside AMD's much-teased AI engine, which may come in handy for FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 3.0 in the future. Its more immediate use is in AI-driven noise cancellation, webcam video improvements, and additional layers of system security.

Read more
CES 2023: AMD’s next-gen laptop GPU could beat a desktop RTX 3060
AMD's CEO showing off the RX 7600M XT at CES 2023.

In AMD's CES 2023 keynote address, it debuted its next-generation RDNA3 mobile graphics chips, and their performance and efficiency look to be incredibly impressive. We don't have details on the entire range yet, and we want to conduct our own testing to verify performance, but AMD's bold claims leave us rather excited for the year ahead, especially when these chips are launched alongside impressive onboard GPU performance in next-generation AMD laptops.

The AMD RX 7600M XT and non-XT versions will feature up to 8GB of GDDR6 memory on a 128-bit memory bus, with support for AMD's smart power and tuning technologies, and are built on a 6nm process. AMD makes major claims about the performance of these GPUs, with the XT model reportedly able to deliver greater gaming performance than even an Nvidia desktop-grade RTX 3060 12GB. We'll need to test that ourselves to verify it, but if true, next-generation mobile gaming laptops are going to be incredibly impressive.

Read more