The iPhone is not just a hot commodity in China. It’s also very expensive there, and apparently much more affordable or at least more easily accessible on the black market in Hong Kong. As a result, people are resorting to desperate measures to get their hands on an iPhone—and to turn a profit on the popular Apple product.
iPhone smuggler caught at Futian Port
The folks at Huffington Post found some photos posted on Chinese social media site Sina which show an alleged iPhone smuggler with 94 phones strapped all over his body. The unnamed man attempted to enter China through Futian Port.
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The iPhone smuggler reportedly caught the attention of authorities at the port because of the way he was walking,” which was defined as a “weird walking posture, joint stiffness, [and] muscle tension.” Port authorities forced him to walk through a metal detector and discovered the iPhones wrapped around his torso, waist and both legs.
Turning a profit on smuggled iPhones
The man reportedly came from Hong Kong where iPhones are either cheaper or easier to acquire on the black market. An unlocked iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes of storage sells for about $872, compared to the price of $649 in the U.S. The average Chinese worker only earns approximately $4,755 per year, which makes the pricy but trendy iPhone 6 cost about 18% of their salary.
Although it isn’t clear which models of iPhones the alleged smuggler was attempting to get into China, the likely value of all those phones strapped to his body is probably more than $50,000, reports 9to5 Mac. Of course that would mean the alleged smuggler’s iPhone suit one of the world’s most expensive ones ever made.
Last year before the iPhone 6 Plus was officially available in China, black market prices for the phablet surged past $3,000 before coming down in September as the date of Beijing’s approval of the iPhone 6 Plus approached.
iPhones stolen in Beijing
The iPhone is such a hot item in China that it’s also a popular target for thieves. Last week three men were accused of stealing 240 iPhone 6 units worth about $225,350 from a warehouse. They allegedly dug a hole through the wall of the warehouse to steal the iPhones.