There’s nothing like a peaceful fishing trip to help you forget about all your troubles. The fresh air, the quiet solitude, the sounds of a police boat’s siren making you realize you screwed up. These are the simple pleasures that led to the arrest of three smugglers last month. Their haul was not the run of the mill carp. Rather, it was a catch containing over 300 iPhone 6s mobiles.
According to police in Shenzhen, the fishermen were suspicious looking as they sailed by the police craft. In particular, officers noted that the individuals on the fishing trawler looked nervous and began to speed up their vessel when they saw police looking at them. As the officers gave chase, they quickly caught up with the scared-looking men. Upon seeing a large quantity of dead fish sitting on the deck, police investigated more closely. They soon found the 370 iPhone 6s phones hidden in buckets of fish.
Once in custody, police questioned the fishermen. The three men admitted that they had recently finished their fishing trip when a pair of unknown men approached them. In exchange for smuggling the cell phones into China from Hong Kong, the fishermen were promised $150 for each mobile they delivered. The prospect of more than $55,000 in profit convinced the fishermen to go along with the scheme. Instead, they are facing up to five years in jail.
The smuggling of electronics into China from Hong Kong has been an ongoing issue. Items, including Apple iPhones, computers, televisions, and stereos sell for considerably less in Hong Kong than in mainland China. Over the years, smugglers have tried a variety of ways to avoid customs and move products across the border. Methods have included grappling hooks, zip lines, tunnels, and even hiding items inside people’s bodies. Earlier this year a man attempted to smuggle 9,000 memory cards taped to his legs. The police stated that hiding iPhones under fish is a first. However, with the 370 phones having a street value of over $300,000, no doubt other clever attempts are already underway.