Chinese customs officers said they have smashed a syndicate hiring Hong Kong students to smuggle diamonds into the mainland.
Ten suspected members of the syndicate have been arrested, including a female university student from Hong Kong, Sky Post reports.
Customs agents identified three online stores in the mainland that had been taking orders from customers who wanted to buy branded diamond products from overseas.
The stores used addresses in Hong Kong and Macau to receive the diamonds sent from overseas and then hired smugglers to transport the goods to the mainland, where they were finally delivered to the buyers.
By dodging the 17 percent tariff on diamond imports, the syndicate was able to sell the products at much cheaper prices.
The operation against the syndicate, which started on Feb. 20, resulted in the arrest of 10 suspects in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Gongbei Port in Zhuhai.
The Hong Kong university student was caught with three diamond rings and three diamond pieces in her bag when she tried to pass the customs checkpoint at Shenzhen Port.
During interrogation, she told customs officers she was given 800 yuan (US$116) for each trip across the border.
Further investigation revealed that the arrested owners of the three online stores were highly educated people with well-paid jobs, China Youth Daily reported.
The syndicate is believed to have smuggled into the mainland more than 37 diamondsand diamond products with a combined value of over 100 million yuan.
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