Chinese custom officials from Shenzhen, China’s technology hub, have successfully nabbed a group of smugglers who used drones to transport 500 million yuan worth of iPhones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. Reuters reports that the officials were able to arrest 26 suspects who used drones to fly two 200-meter cables between Hong Kong and mainland China.
At a news conference held by Shenzhen customs it was revealed that the smugglers operated after midnight and used small bags to transport more than 10 iPhones across the border at one time. The smugglers were able to transport as many as 15,000 iPhones across the border in one night, the report revealed.
The local, state-owned Legal Daily claimed it to be “the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes.” Shenzhen customs now plans to keep an eye out for such high-tech smuggling operations and might use its own fleet of drones to combat illegal cross-border activity.
China has been introducing new policies to regulate drone use in the country. Last year, the country implemented a new rule which required civilian drone owners to register their drones using their real names. While it may be a first for China, using drones to smuggle items across the border isn’t something new for the US. In order to prevent the illegal use of the drones, the US requires drone owners to register any device which weighs over 0.55 pounds.