A unique smuggling act using drones and involving massive quantities of iPhones was brought down by Chinese customs officers last week. $80 million worth of iPhones were smuggled during this act. China’s Legal Daily reported that 26 suspects were arrested involved in the plot.
The criminals used drones to string two cables between Shenzhen in southern China and Hong Kong. With this setup, they could reportedly transport as many as 15,000 phones in a single night. However, the criminals are alleged of smuggling 500 million yuan (approximately $79.5 million) worth of iPhones.
The “entrepreneurial smugglers”, as this is the first time drones were employed to smuggle phones, used many drones to form a connection between two places. The cable between high-rise buildings in Hong Kong and the mainland was 200-meter (660 feet) long. The operation used to take place at night, and the smugglers would approximately pack 10 iPhones and attach them to the drones. Once the smuggling cable was set, the group would use a pulley system to bring across the packages containing iPhones. Those drones would then fly from Hong Kong to Shenzhen in southern China in just a matter of seconds.
Smuggling of high-end products such as smartphones, jewelry, and luxury products is very common in China as well as in Pakistan. The Chinese government has been working day and night to crack down such activities in the country but have failed to stop the increasingly powerful black market. Smuggling criminals usually buy the devices at a reduced rate in large quantities or often steal them and later sell them at a higher price.
Smuggling is one of the most profitable illegal business for criminals. People want to get authentic goods at a cheaper price. Shenzhen Police warns that smuggling would continue in China. The customs officials are planning to use several types of equipment such as drone to stop these attempts by the smugglers.
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