An iPhone smuggling ring is said to be using more than 50 secondary school students to ferry the handsets across the border to Shenzhen on all weekdays.
According to an Apple Daily report, a group of four — comprising three men and one woman — is often seen at the Sheung Shui station handing boxes of iPhones to uniformed school students.
The students then take a train to Lo Wu, cross the border into the mainland and hand over the gadgets at a collecting facility.
The collection point is often a karaoke shop within a residential complex that is just about 15-minutes walk from the train station, the report says.
The brains behind the smuggling operation is said to be a 17-year-old girl who has dropped out of school.
The students being used as carriers live in Shenzhen but go to schools in Hong Kong.
Each student is usually given three iPhones before they take trains to Lo Wu. Sometimes, the gadgets are delivered to courier companies or even buyers stationed at the taxi stand outside the border control point.
A secondary five student who joined the operation about two months ago told an Apple Daily reporter that she does have worries that she will be caught by authorities one day and that she could end up with a criminal record.
She confessed that she did not tell her parents about her involvement in the iPhone smuggling operation.
The student said that she was doing it just for the money, as she gets HK$150 for every three handsets carried across the border.
Apple Daily cited sources as saying that in some cases the parents could also be involved, or even be playing a major role, in the racket.
As for the smuggling ring’s 17-year-old female leader, who bears the nickname “Fatty”, she is believed to have at least 20 “student followers” working personally for her.
The girl is said to pocket HK$100 per every iPhone successfully brought into Shenzhen. Given the scale of the activities, she could be making over HK$100,000 a month.
The ring leader is said to have dropped out of school when she was in secondary four. Her little brother, who is in primary five, is believed to be smuggling iPhones on a daily basis.
Apple Daily reporters found out that up to 150 boxes of new iPhones are being taken from Golden Era Plaza in Mongkok to Sheung Shui Station every day for distribution to student carriers.
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