Even with wider availability of Apple’s iPhones in recent weeks, the black market continues to be a popular source for the smartphone in China, as seen by photos released by Chinese media. The latest catch: a Hong Kong man who attempted to smuggle 94 iPhones by strapping them to his body, according to a report from the People’s Daily.
â€” Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) January 12, 2015
At the Fuitan Port in Shenzhen, the man caught the attention of customs officials when they observed him walking with a “stiff posture” through the immigration hall. After setting off a metal detector, he was detained by officers and searched, revealing the iPhones attached to his body with packing tape.
The phones, consisting of a mix of iPhone 5S and 6 models, were found taped to various parts of the man’s body, including around his chest, abdomen, thighs, calves and groin. Initial estimates place the value of the phones seized at 300,000 yuan (more than $48,000).
While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been available in China since Oct. 17, the smartphones' prices skyrocketed as high as $3,000 on the black market for the brief period when they weren’t officially on sale in the country. Despite greater availability of the iPhone in China, smuggling is still an attractive option, since the country levies a 17 percent value-added tax to goods imported legally and iPhones are often priced lower in Hong Kong.
Other methods smugglers have attempted in recent years include strapping the phones to underwear, speedboating them in, and even using a zip line to get the smartphones from Hong Kong.