Man tries to sneak 84 SSDs past Chinese customs by stuffing them inside electric scooter


Posts: 8,777   +110
Staff member
WTF?! In the latest incident of people using unconventional methods to sneak hardware past Chinese customs officials, a man has been caught trying to smuggle 84 NVMe SSDs into the country by hiding them inside an electric scooter.

On March 3, customs officials at the Guangdong-Macao checkpoint became suspicious when a nervous-looking passenger pushed a Yadea KS electric scooter through the "non-declaration channel."

The guards' instincts proved correct as an X-ray of the scooter showed there were objects hidden in the steering rod. When the agents took it apart, they found 84 Kingston-branded NVMe SSDs hidden inside the hollow tube.

The General Administration of Customs writes that anyone who evades customs supervision by concealing, disguising, concealing, transporting, carrying, or mailing goods or articles that are subject to payment of taxes, as is the case here, will be investigated by the law. No, word on what happened to the person who used his scooter as a makeshift smuggling container, but it's unlikely to have been good.

Interestingly, smuggling items into China using electric scooters isn't unusual, but people usually hide the items inside the battery compartment. Sadly for the person in this instance, the X-ray machine foiled their plans. Still, this trick is probably better than using the old-fashioned method and trying to hide 84 SSDs in an orifice.

The list of different ways people have tried smuggling tech into China is a long one. Back in 2017, a woman was caught trying to get 102 iPhones past customs officers by strapping them to her body. That method is a particularly common one: a 2021 incident saw someone attach 256 CPUs, worth $123,000, to their calves and torso with plastic wrap in an attempt to evade import taxes, and one man tried to smuggle 160 CPUs and 16 folding phones by taping them to himself.

Perhaps noticing that those attaching hardware to their bodies kept getting caught, a woman last year tried the more novel approach of concealing 202 Intel CPUs and nine iPhones beneath a fake pregnant belly. It didn't work.

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Posts: 6,557   +7,520
But why? To avoid paying customs tax?
When the tax exceeds the purchase price of the product - oh yes.

A few months ago, I purchased (online, from UK) a box of 6 cigars, for 50 euro. They got impounded by the Dublin airport, who a whole month later sent me a letter, requesting a tax of 64 euro. I rejected this rip off, and they sent it back. There's some "legal" thievery afoot conducted by the customs, extortion-like, which happens in many countries.

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,714   +4,795
Why would anyone have to smuggle these in when you can probably get one in a store in Shanghai for like $20? Well, I suppose that it's better than pretending to be pregnant with Intel CPUs! :laughing:


Posts: 2,018   +1,079
On one side I understand that they are trying to boost their on SSD production. On the other, does it do the nation good in as long run?
If people believe that foreign is ALWAYS better, that would not change quickly.
It reminds me that they also try to limit use of Foreign music and very successful bands.


Posts: 138   +55
It depends on the case but you might end up paying from 33% to 130% with VAT and custom duty. So smuggling can be profitable. Sometimes the Chinese government lowers duties for things that China needs and increases for things that are considered luxury, harmful or for things that can harm local production.
Wasn't there a trick where you can super cool an item and it becomes near invisible to the EM spectrum because the electrical resistance is lowered? Of course doing so, conspicuously, affordably, and safely poses it's own challenges. 🥶