Smugglers Fly Drones to Transport $79.8M Worth of iPhones from HK to China


Photo by mohamed_hassan via Pixabay


China’s customs officers busted a group of smugglers who used drones to transport $79.8 million or 500 million yuan worth of smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China. This was according to the People’s Republic of China-state owned newspaper, The Legal Daily.

Authorities reportedly arrested 26 suspects who used the gadget to carry the cables, which were then used to pull the smartphones in bags.  Each of the small bags holds more than 10 iPhones. The gang operated after midnight, allowing them to smuggle as much as 15,000 phones across the border in a single night.

Shenzhen authorities claimed that they will closely monitor new kinds of smuggling activities involving high-tech devices. They will also enhance the capability of their technical equipment, including the use of high-resolution monitors, so they can detect the illegal transportation of objects.

Being the world’s largest maker of consumer drones, China made it an important task to regulate the use of these aerial technologies. It even published strict rules in 2017 to tackle the incidents when drones stray into the paths of aircraft flight. The rules include demanding owners of civilian drones to register their technology first.

Cross-border smuggling is not the only dubious activity to make money from smartphones in China. Scalpers, or people buying items in large quantities and reselling these at a higher price, are also often seen as a force when a new model is introduced in the country. In 2010, Apple even temporarily closed its store in Beijing to deter scalpers.