China's authorities have detained 26 people who used drones as part of a cross-border smuggling operation, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported. The gang smuggled iPhones worth $79 million in total from Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province.
Customs staff say that the smuggling ring operated at night in order to avoid detection. They put about 20 smartphones into each bag and tied them to drones which flew between a high-rise building in Shenzhen and the roof of a country house on the other side of the border. In total, the criminals managed to transport 15,000 new iPhones, which are in great demand in China.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that enjoys the status of an autonomous region in China. People in mainland China need a visa to travel to Hong Kong. Usually, the newest models of smartphones first hit stores in Hong Kong, which is why criminals come up with all sorts of ideas to smuggle the devices to China in order to sell them on the black market at a high price.