Smuggling smartphones into China across the border with Hong Kong is clearly still a thing. A woman recently tried to take in more than 102 of them, but was caught in the act. All of the phones were found underneath her clothes, strapped to her body.
While an X-ray machine, quick pat-down, or phone calls received simultaneously by several of the handsets as she passed through customs would no doubt have alerted the authorities that something was awry, it was apparently a visual inspection of the woman that gave officials reason to believe merchandise was being concealed.
Local media said that the suspect has been wearing more clothing than you’d expect to see during the hot and sticky summer weather, prompting officials to move in and and take a closer look.
Besides the iPhones, the 44-pound haul also included 15 luxury watches, with most of the items strapped tightly around the woman’s torso.
The smuggling of Apple’s smartphones into China has been going on for years as the device is significantly cheaper in Hong Kong, leaving successful perpetrators with the prospect of making a tidy profit on illicit sales.
While most smugglers will only attempt to take in a few iPhones at a time, there are a few, like this recently arrested woman, who decide to take a major risk and attempt to hide considerably more as they cross the border into China.
We reported on a similar incident in 2015 when a Hong Kong man was caught trying to smuggle 94 iPhone 6 handsets. Officials realized something was up when they noticed his unusual walking style, with a more thorough check confirming their suspicions.
But among those caught, the record stands at 146 iPhones, set by a man who crossed the border in 2015 “at a really slow pace with a strangely stiffened back.” It sounds like he never stood a chance.
Looking for alternative methods of getting the handset into the country unnoticed, some smugglers have used Twinkie boxes to hide the devices, while a more daring effort back in 2011 involved sending them into China on a zip line under the cover of darkness.