Wanna smuggle iPads and iPhones from China into Hong Kong? There’s an App for that (it’s called a crossbow).
Recent stories in the news have seen some pretty strange stories come out of China when it comes to people doing outlandish stuff for technology and/or videogames. First there was the teen who sold a kidney for an iPad (and other Apple gadgets). Then there were the parents who were selling their kids to support their gaming habits. Now, there are the smugglers who used ziplines to get all sorts of Apple swag into Hong Kong from the mainland.
Here’s a little background on why one would want to smuggle tech like iPad 2s and iPhone 4s between China and Hong Kong: These gadgets sell for notably different prices due to different tax rates. As a result, if you buy an iPad or iPhone over in China, you can make a tidy profit if you sell it in Hong Kong and avoid border checks and government inspectors.
As a result, a group of smugglers came across a refreshingly old-school method of sneaking the Apple devices by using a zipline to slide them across the Sha Tau Kok River:
Using a crossbow they shot a strong fishing line across the Sha Tau Kok river where the arrow lodged in a rural house on the Hong Kong side. In total, the line was 300 meters in length.
Using a large wheel and a nylon bag suspened on a hook from the line, they proceeded to slide the iPads and iPhones across in small quantities during the night. This meant no border checks, and no time consuming hiding of the devices in a vehicle in the hopes they would make it across.
Of course, nobody had the common sense to realize that sending bags zipping across the river would be noticeable even at night and authorities didn’t take too long to uncover the operation. The recovered iPads and iPhones is reportedly worth more than $46,000, though no one is sure just how much was smuggled across the river before police arrived on the scene.
On a side note: I’m not the only person who just had a flashback to Disney’s animated Robin Hood, particularly the scene where Robin and his crew attempt to use a medieval pulley system to rob Prince John’s treasury until they manage to get caught and the climactic battle ensues, am I?