The Guangzhou Daily, a southern China-based newspaper, has reported this week that schoolchildren are being used more and more often to smuggle luxury goods, including Apple iPhones, from Hong Kong to mainland China. Since January, China’s customs officials have uncovered over 30 cases of kids using their book bags to smuggle tablets, perfume, and other items that sell for amounts considerably cheaper in Hong Kong than in mainland China.
This shouldn’t come as a terrific shock given the propensity of the Chinese to go into business with family, and the Chinese historical trading acumen.
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Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 children travel from their homes in Hong Kong to attend school in the southern city of Shenzhen which borders the former British colony. Smugglers are increasingly threatening or tricking children in Hong Kong and loading them up with electronics to be turned over to their partners in Shenzhen.
iPhone smuggling: We don’t need kids
Chinese smugglers have been quite clever for millennia. In the past, iPhones have been found in smugglers’ tunnels and even packed into sealed larger volume beer bottles. Rarely, outside of the drug trade are smugglers summarily executed any longer and corruption so rampant that even without the kids smugglers will always find a way.
While iPhones make the news, officials are also finding the much sought after Hong Kong birds’ nests in book bags on this heavily traveled school “commute.”