The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are apparently such hot commodities that smuggling has become a problem in countries where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has not yet made them officially available. According to reports from Dunya News and The Indian Express, customs officials in Lahore detained the crew of a Pakistan International Airlines flight.
They reportedly accused the crewmembers of smuggling more than 20 iPhone 6 smartphones from London into the Pakistani city.
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iPhone 6 smuggled into Pakistan
Officials said 11 of the 14 crewmembers from flight PK-758, including the captain, smuggled 24 iPhone 6 units on the flight from London. Those iPhones were worth approximately 2.5 million rupees. Apple put the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus up for sale in the U.S., the U.K., and several other countries beginning Friday, although Pakistan was not on that list.
The PIA crewmembers are accused of conspiring “to get their duties changed by requesting the actual crew members for the flight.” Officials said the PIA staff union members went to London for the purpose of buying the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models at lower rates and then sell them in Pakistan to turn a profit.
They said other union members alerted them to the smuggling. They said other union members alerted them to the smuggling. Upon searching the plane after its arrival in Lahore, customs officials did not find the allegedly smuggled iPhones. However, they were later told that the crewmembers gave them to a passenger. They later got the iPhones from the passenger.
In addition to the iPhones, the crew was accused of smuggling foreign currency. Authorities said they recovered £5,000 from the plane’s captain and other crewmembers.
PIA crew protests accusations
The accused crew members and other members of the PIA staff crew staged a sit-in after authorities made the accusations. They also reportedly contacted their fellow crewmembers who were about to fly another plane to Manchester.
The crew of flight PK-709 refused to take off until after their coworkers were released. The flight was delayed until authorities released the accused PIA crewmembers.
PIA officials said they are investigating the serious allegations.