The Smuggler With the Wearable iPhones

It gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘wearable devices’. A man has been caught by authorities in China while trying to smuggle a large number of iPhones from Hong Kong into mainland China – he had an incredible 94 of them attached to his stomach, his groin and his legs. The iPhones were arranged over his body and enclosed in clear film wrap help in place with duct tape, which made up what looked like a set of high-tech long johns. He had then covered this iPhone suit with a layer of normal outer clothing and set off for his trip to mainland China.

The misguided individual was unfortunate enough to attract the attention of customs officials, who rather quickly noticed that he was walking oddly and rather stiffly, not surprising as he was effectively wearing a full metal jacket! On running a metal detector over him, they were amazed to discover the presence of all the smartphones and called in the police.

He was taken into police custody, and when his outer clothing layer was removed, the vast array of smuggled merchandise was uncovered for all to see. His motivation was clear – although Apple iPhones are made in China, they are considerably cheaper in Hong Kong than in the rest of China, so if this man had succeeded in his rather risky smuggling attempt, he would have gained quite a profit. A quick calculation shows that the haul had an estimated value of $49K which is about £32K – not bad for a single journey.

It makes you wonder if this was the first time the man had completed this journey – ‘mobile armour’ as the technique is called is a recognised way to smuggle mobile phones and he may have done it before with smaller numbers of iPhones, and succeeded, but maybe this time he just got carried away and tried to smuggle too many iDevices at one time. The Hong Kong penalty for smuggling is 7 years in jail and a fine of 2 million dollars (roughly £170K) so let’s hope any previous activities were profitable enough to cover the cost of this one if he is found guilty of the crime.

Various reporters have conjectured about the problems the man might have faced if he had begun to itch, but I’m wondering what would have happened if someone had tried to ring one or more of the iPhones – if they were on silent vibrate mode it might have provided him with quite a thrill. Unlikely I know but the thought made me smile.

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