Chinese customs officials arrested a woman late last month attempting to smuggle 102 iPhones strapped to her body into mainland China, according to local media.
On June 30, customs officers in Shenzhen, China spotted a woman with strange bulges and unusual body proportions, wearing warm clothing inappropriate for the hot weather in the area. The officials pulled the woman aside and put her through a metal detector. Upon further inspection, they found 102 Apple smartphones and 15 luxury watches strapped around her torso and waist, according to Chinese-language publication XMNN.
The woman had up to four layers of what appear to be iPhone 6 devices hidden underneath her clothing, bundled together with tape and fabric. Reportedly, the total weight of the smuggled goods topped out at around 44 pounds. While the 102 iPhones were a record for the particular customs squad that made the arrest, the record amount of iPhones found strapped to a smuggler’s body appears to remain 146. That smuggler was also caught in Shenzhen by customs agents in 2014, according to Kotaku.
Officials in Shenzhen — which borders Hong Kong — routinely catch smugglers attempting to bring iPhones and other goods into mainland China, with typical hauls of up to 70 or 80 devices. Due to China’s “one country, two systems” principle, iPhones and other products can cost up to 30 percent more in the mainland than in Hong Kong, due to a variety of levies and taxes on foreign consumer goods. Hong Kong doesn’t have these levies, which makes smuggling popular consumer devices from the autonomous region a rather lucrative gray market.
While the iPhones may be fakes, because of this gray market it’s likely that they are genuine devices. It’s currently unclear whether the woman was acting alone, or if she is part of a larger smuggling operation. According to XMNN, the parties “have been dealt with” by local authorities.