Most people casually think of China and Hong Kong as basically the same place since Britain’s lease on it expired in 1997. However, Hong Kong and mainland China coexist with extremely different lifestyles and governments.
For example, a 16GB iPhone4S costs about US$145 less in Hong Kong than just across the border in Shenzen City. Naturally duties are set up to avoid people taking advantage of this price gap with cross border shopping. Nevertheless, when this situation arises you are bound to see a lot of smuggling going down.
And when you see a lot of smuggling, you are also guaranteed to see an increase in absurdly bad smuggling attempts. Such is the case for one 3rd year high school student whose daily trip to school turned into the makings of a cheesy after-school special.
Our tale begins with the customs officers manning the checkpoint from Hong Kong leading into Shenzen. As is often seen, dozens of students make the cross-border commute chatting and being noisy as high school students are known to do. However, one girl walking through was suspiciously quiet and kept her head down which alerted officers that something was up.
After conducting a body search they discovered 21 iPhone4 handsets taped around her midriff and another 2 phones taped to each calf for a total of 25 iPhones. Once discovered the girl seemed oblivious of the crime she was committing.
When questioned she explained that a man approached her on the side of the road and offered her 10 yuan (US$1.50) per phone if she carried them across the border. Kids, as a general rule, if anyone on the side of the road has a business proposition for you, it’s probably not legit.
And Chinese smugglers, if you’re going to turn teenage girls to a life of crime, you might want to pay them a decent wage. You find your quality of mule goes up, and you don’t come across looking like cheap bastards in the news.
It seems market forces rule, however, as this type of smuggling via local commuters is not uncommon around those parts. Although it’s hard to measure how much smuggling goes on, when you see a smuggler so boldly walking across customs they seem begging to get caught, you know there are thousands you don’t see – kind of like a cockroach walking across the kitchen floor.
When the young girl learned of the severity of her situation she broke down in tears. “I’ll never do it again! Don’t tell my parents or teachers!” she begged. And so her story comes to a bitter close, but don’t let this happen to you. Remember, if someone asks you to carry contraband across a border, JUST SAY NO… or at least negotiate a worthwhile price. A buck fifty per phone? Sheesh.
Source: Youko.com (Chinese Video)
[ Read in Japanese ]