Authorities in China have crippled a smuggling ring that transports high-end smartphones across the Chinese border using drones. The racket racked up about 500 million yuan (RM 307 million) worth of profit before the finally being tracked down.
The group consists of 26 individuals who worked during the night to fly drones across the Hong Kong/Shenzen border. Smugglers flew the drones to fly two 200-meter cables into Shenzen to zip-line the smartphones into waiting hands. Using bags, they transported upwards of 15,000 units every night, usually after midnight to avoid detection.
Police on both sides of the border said that the case “Is the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes,” according to the Legal Daily which quoted the authorities. Most of the phones smuggled were refurbished iPhones, as the Chinese market’s hunger for Apple products is fueling the illicit trade.
China is already cracking hard in trying to regulate the usage of drones. Last year the country requires an owner to register drones up to a certain weight with the owner’s real name for monitoring purposes.