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Saturday, January 17, 2015

iPhone smuggler held at Futian Port between Hongkong and China

Nayakan  the Kamal starrer directed by Mani Ratnam, released in 1987 was a grand hit.   The film inspired by The Godfather started a new trend of glorifying underworld activities.

A free flowing trade is good for the economy but unscrupulous elements utilising this do harm the national interest – smuggling and moving goods fraudulently not only results in loss of revenue for the exchequer but also is a threat to the security of the country.  It is common knowledge that all goods imported or exported out of India pass through the procedure of Customs for the purposes proper examination, appraisal, assessment and evaluation. This is done to check the legality of the trade as also for charging taxes as applicable.  In advanced USA, it is stated that Latin America's drug cartels are leaving the U.S. Coast Guard in their wake, with new and faster speedboats law enforcement officials say are virtually undetectable by radar.  The new boats, nicknamed "Picudas," after a tropical fish whose long, thin bodies they resemble, are made of fiberglass, making them invisible to radar and efficient with fuel.

In Nayakan, Sakthivelu alias "Velu"  Naicker, runs to Bombay, gets raised in the slums of Dharavi, gets into smuggling.   As his popularity and clout increases, he starts eliminating rival gangs and kills a Police Officer too [shown as corrupt to justify the killing].  Once when nobody is able to bring a contraband parcel out of a ship, Velu brings it ashore with Selva's help by hoodwinking the Custom officials. ‘nila athu vaanathu mela’ song and Kuyilee dance !!  years later, Velu becomes the biggest mafia leader of the city with a large number of followers.  Smugglers try newer tricks to hoodwink officials.  Here is an interesting report of a smuggler  caught trying to sneak 94 iPhones into China after strapping them to his body... and customs officers noticed his strange walk  !

The seizure occurred at Futian Port, immigration point between China and Hong Kong. Despite being made in China, iPhones difficult and expensive to buy there and so, smuggling in handsets from abroad is therefore a lucrative business.   It is stated that a person tried  to sneak 94 iPhones into China by strapping and concealing them around his torso. Customs officers grew suspicious after seeing a male passenger with 'weird walking posture, joint stiffness and muscle tension', reports the Huffington Post.

Smuggling under Hong Kong law, where this man was said to be caught, can warrant a seven-year prison sentence and a fine as high as $2m (£171,000). According to the report, so-called 'mobile armor' is a fairly common tactic for phone smugglers.

All of Apple's iPhones are actually made in China under contract before being shipped to countries around the world -but purchasing one in the country can be a challenge. Not long ago, the only way to do so was through the black market. Recently, deals can be agreed to with legitimate providers such as China Mobile but supplies of the latest models are usually limited.  According to the FT, an unlocked 16GB iPhone 6 is around £577. At around 18 per cent of the annual salary in China, it's a costly buy.  As a result, buying new or second-hand handsets outside China and smuggling them into the country can be a lucrative business.

Most of the devices in the pictures appear to be the iPhone 5S but there are also some iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models in view.  According to another report, the world’s most popular smartphone range is finally available to subscribers of the world’s biggest mobile carrier.  In China it does not come cheap. It is not quite Brazil prices (R2,799, or US$1,184 for the 16GB iPhone 5s from the Apple store) but iPhone in China is more expensive than it is in the US, at Rmb 5,288 ($872) versus $649 for the iPhone 5S 16GB.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Jan 2015.

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