Smugglers Hid 70 Graphics Cards Among 617 Pounds of Live Lobster

A lobster
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another amusing episode of Tech Smuggling Fails has hit the Hong Kong news wires. This time, some intrepid smugglers were caught trying to get 70 "high value computer display cards" out of the territory, duty-free. What adds a unique flavor to this latest smuggling attempt is that the GPUs were hidden in a cargo which contained 280 kg (617 pounds) of live lobsters (approximately 200 lobsters). It isn't specified in Hong Kong media reports, but The Register thinks the GPU and lobsters shipment was probably caught going to mainland China.

Hong Kong Customs swooped on a van as it turned to cross the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Apparently, the cargo of lobsters and GPUs had no associated paperwork, but was valued by the authorities at around HK$600,000 ($76,500). It isn't clear whether that is the combined value of the cargo, or just the headlining GPUs.

(Image credit: HK Customs)

An image posted by Hong Kong Customs, reproduced above, shows the proud haul of GPUs that was hidden among the crustaceans. We think the lobsters are somewhat tastier than these graphics cards, as they appear to be older entry-level Quadro cards. The Register suggests that the table full of GPUs are Nvidia Quadro K2200 cards. These are Maxwell architecture GPUs with 640 CUDA cores, supported by 4GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit bus.

(Image credit: HK Customs)

It is a stretch by the authorities to refer to Quadro K2200 cards as "high value," as they were launched in mid-2014 and are roughly comparable to a GeForce GTX 750 Ti, or even older Radeon HD 7850, in performance. A positive aspect of these Quadro cards is that they feature a compact single slot design, with a TDP of 68W, so can take power solely from the PCIe slot.

The Hong Kong to mainland China route appears to be a favorite among tech smugglers, with the island territory boasting zero sales tax on goods, while the rate on the mainland is up to 13%. This attractive markup has tempted lots of ingenious, and crazy, attempts to get HK bought tech into the mainland without being declared, and we have noted some interesting examples over recent months.

Our last report on tech smuggling into China highlighted an attempt to smuggle 6,000 microSD cards that were completely enclosed within a bicycle frame. Similarly, someone tried to smuggle 84 M.2 SSDs inside a scooter frame. Other failed smuggling attempt news, of interest to PC DIYers, includes one where a man tried to smuggle 240 Intel Raptor Lake processors into China by taping them to his body and legs. Another smuggler decided it was a good idea to hide 200 CPUs and nine iPhones in a prosthetic belly.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.