Chinese customs have another unsuccessful smuggler in custody. In the latest unfortunate episode, a man was caught trying to smuggle 6,000 microSD cards from Hong Kong island to mainland China. Hong Kong residents benefit from zero sales tax on goods, but the rate on the mainland can be up to 13%.
MicroSD cards are very compact and smaller than an adult fingernail, so it isn’t surprising that 6,000 of these flash storage devices could be hidden within the structure of a bicycle. In the bike diagram, the customs authority outlined the sections filled with memory cards, including the large structural crossbar and the seat.
The smuggler rolled his bike through the 'nothing to declare' channel in transit from Hong Kong to Guangdong Province but gave away his illegal intent with his behavior. According to machine translations of the foreign language reports, the man "often looked away and acted suspiciously." We guess from this translation that he attempted to avoid eye contact with officials on his way through the green channel due to the secret stash of microSD cards.
The source report also highlights additional recent attempts to smuggle undeclared / misdeclared goods from low / zero tax regions to the mainland. For example, at the end of March, a foreigner tried to smuggle 56 boxes (1.3 tons) of used smartphones and replacement screens to China. Somewhat amusingly, earlier this month, someone was caught attempting to import over 200 iPhones and iPads for "personal use."
We have reported on other failed Hong Kong-to-mainland China smuggling attempts in recent weeks and months. For example, at the end of March, we saw reports of around half a million items seized attempting this route, with a large portion of the haul comprising PC components like CPUs and SSDs. These misdeclared goods were worth HK$30 million (nearly $4 million).
As well as the smuggling attempts that are interesting for their audacious scale, there is another newsworthy category – the bizarre or comical attempts to smuggle high-tech goods. Addressing this category, we recently reported on a man trying to smuggle nearly 240 Intel Raptor Lake processors into China by taping them to his body and legs. In addition, late last year, a woman tried to pass off a prosthetic belly full of 200 CPUs and nine iPhones as a pregnancy. Also, a plan to smuggle 84 M.2 SSDs into China within a scooter frame just last month was foiled.
Remember, crime doesn't pay, especially if you are a suspicious-looking smuggler.
If it was 1 TB each, it's 6 petabytes, and 1.5 TB and 2 TB microSD cards could be available in the near future, for up to 9-12 PB stuffed into a bike frame.
If the average cycling speed is 20 km/h...
ATTENTION all smugglers: Declare something and don't behave like that idiot
I was wondering the same thing. Maybe that dude is severely clueless on many levels.
"Hong Kong residents benefit from zero sales tax on goods, but the rate on the mainland can be up to 13%. "
Or maybe the X-ray photo distorted the true shape of the wheels? If accurate, I'd scrap this bike and buy something with round instead of bent wheels. I'd be suspicious of anyone dragging a junk bike through customs.
On a separate note, I wonder if modern X-ray machines can "see through" bicycle frames made from thick steel tubing. Perhaps this particular frame was made from plastic which would be virtually transparent to X-rays.