Young children are increasingly being used to smuggle electronic gadgets into Shenzhen, Headline Daily reported Thursday, citing a report from China’s customs department.
Customs officers at the Shenzhen Bay border control point reported at least four smuggling cases this month involving Hong Kong children living in Shenzhen but studying in schools south of the border.
Children as young as five and 10 years old were caught carrying gadgets such as iPhones and notebook computers into the mainland. Their parents were expecting to collect a fee for the courier service.
In one case, a child was found trying to cross the border carrying 13 handsets and 500 grams of bird’s nest.
The mainland customs department said the parents even tailor-made a special vest to enable the child to carry more goods and conceal them better.
A total of nine iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets and two Lenovo notebook computers were retrieved in three similar cases this month.
The children told customs officers their parents asked them to carry the items with them, thinking that children would usually avoid the attention of customs.
The parents avoid passing through customs with their children, but in these cases, customs arrested them anyway.
One smuggler was quoted as saying more and more Hongkongers are taking part in the illegal trade, some even quitting their jobs in the hope of making more money.
Smugglers are paid HK$30 for each tin of infant formula spirited across the border, HK$120 for each iPhone and HK$150 for each iPad.
“You do the math: the parents would make an instant HK$1,500 for the 13 handsets and bird’s nest,” the smuggler said.
“How is it not tempting?”
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