Gang caught in China for smuggling iPhones worth $80 million using drones

It surely sounds something out of a crime flick.

By Chandrika Jana

    iPhones are not for everyone, thanks to their high price tag. However, some people are desperate enough to do everything to get their hands on iPhones. As reported by the official Legal Daily, a group of criminals were using drones to smuggle 500 million Yuan ($79.8 million) worth of smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.

    Gang caught in China for smuggling iPhones using drones

    The news have come to light after customs officers in southern China's technology hub Shenzhen caught the criminals red handed. The authorities arrested 26 people who alleged used drones fly two 200-meter (660-feet) cables between Hong Kong and the mainland to transport refurbished iPhones with a total value of 500 million yuan. It surely sounds something out of a crime flick.

    "It's the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes," notes the Legal Daily, citing a news conference held by Shenzhen customs on Thursday.

    According to the report, the smugglers usually operated after midnight. With the drones they just need seconds to transport small bags filled with more than 10 iPhones. So the gang could manage to smuggle up to 15,000 phones across the border in just one night!

    Shenzhen customs was quoted as saying it would closely monitor new types of smuggling with high-tech devices and enhance their capability with technical equipment, including drones and high-resolution monitors, for detect smuggling activity in the country.

    China has very strict rules regrading drones getting into the path of aircraft flights. However, the recent incident clearly indicates that the country needs to bring in more effective laws to regulate the use of drones.

    Reports of iPhones getting stolen are not something new. Late last year, a group of thieves had stolen more than 300 units of iPhone X worth over $370,000 (roughly Rs. 2.40 crores) from an Apple Store, however they were not so high-tech. Reportedly, three thieves stole Apple's latest iPhones from a UPS truck parked outside a San Francisco Apple Store in the broad daylight.

    Inputs from Reuters

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