Criminals have come up with creative ways to steal or smuggle iPhones over the years, but a new case out of China takes things to the next level. A group of 26 smugglers used drones to transport refurbished iPhones across the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.
It’s actually a neat idea, and by the sounds of it the entire operation was very efficient. The gang used drones to fly two 200-meter cables between Hong Kong and the mainland. They worked under the cover of night and just required seconds to transport small bags carrying around 10 iPhones.
The suspects managed to smuggle a whopping 15000 units this way in a single night. All-in-all, Reuters reports that 500 million yuan ($79.8 million) worth of refurbished iPhones were carried to and fro by drones. Customs officials in Shenzhen say this is the first case of the flying contraptions being used for cross-border smuggling crimes in China.
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China is still grappling with the impact which drones could have in the country. It’s the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer drones and is still in the process of regulating their usage. Authorities are now planning to monitor such new types of smuggling and invest in equipment like their own drones and high-resolution monitors to check smuggling activity.
Over on land, thieves are hijacking trucks filled with iPhones and dressing up as Apple employees to score some iPhones from an Apple Store. Drones could help these crooks take things to the sky.