Chinese customs officials in Hong Kong and Shenzhen province closed in on a band of criminals who were allegedly using drones in a bid to smuggle thousands of refurbished iPhone models, according to a Reuters report. The Legal Daily reports that the highly-calculated operation’s value hovered somewhere around 500 million yuan ($ 79.8 million) worth of […] Read More… iDrop News
iPhones are significantly cheaper in Hong Kong than mainland China, and it’s not unusual to find people smuggling them across the border. But while the record for smuggling them under clothing is around $ 150k, that’s nothing compared to the $ 79.8M worth transported with the help of drones …
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Criminals in China have discovered a brilliant new use for drones: smuggling valuable iPhones. Authorities in China arrested 26 suspects that were found using drones to smuggle $80 million worth of iPhones between Hong Kong and the mainland in what is reportedly the first case of drones being used in cross-border smuggling crimes in China. […]
China's Legal Daily reported today that officials in the country just shut down a major smartphone smuggling scheme. A total of 26 suspects were arrested in connection with the plot. The individuals allegedly used drones to string two cables between… Engadget RSS Feed
We have seen smugglers use a variety of innovative ways to smuggle hundreds of iPhones across borders. The sheer popularity of iPhones and the difference in their price in major regions has made them a favorite commodity among smugglers. This is perhaps most evident in China and Hong Kong, with new iPhones carrying a far lower price tag in Hong Kong than in China. Continue reading → iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
A group of 26 suspects were arrested in China for smuggling almost USD $ 80 million worth of smartphones into Southern China from Hong Kong. Suspects were able to transport upwards of 15,000 devices in a single night, which were mostly refurbished iPhones, (according to the Chinese Customs’ report) across the border that divides Hong Kong from mainland China. Drones confiscated by authorities in Shenzhen on March 29 – Via Reuters Drones were used to run 200-meter (660-foot) lines across the border and small bags, which held up to 10 smartphones each, were quickly carried through…
A group of criminals in China were caught smuggling 500 million yuan ($79.8 million) worth of refurbished iPhones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, using drones connected via cables to transport the smartphones. Reported by the Legal Daily (via Reuters), customs officers in Shenzhen caught the group and ceased its illegal actions, arresting 26 total suspects in the process.
Photo by Liu Youzhi/Southern Metropolis Daily via Reuters
The group was using drones to fly two 660-foot cables between Hong Kong and the mainland as a method of transporting the iPhones. They typically operated after midnight and into the morning hours, and “only needed seconds” to transport small bags that held 10 iPhones or more using the cable-connected drones. In one night, they could reach a quota of as many as 15,000 iPhones transported.
According to a news conference held by the customs officers, this marks “the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes.”
Shenzhen customs was quoted by the Legal Daily as saying it would closely monitor new types of smuggling with high-tech devices and enhance their capability with technical equipment, including drones and high-resolution monitors, to detect smuggling activity.
Drone regulations are said to be “an important task” for Chinese officials, with the government publishing a series of strict rules in 2017 after drones were found to be interfering with aircraft flight paths. Civilian drone owners are now required to register any drone “up to a certain weight” using their real names.
While using drones might be new, the act of individuals attempting to smuggle iPhones out of Hong Kong has certainly been around for years. In early 2015, a man tried to smuggle 94 iPhones into mainland China by strapping them onto his body and under his clothes. Smuggling operations pop up frequently because of higher import taxes, which cause the iPhones to be more expensive in the mainland than they are in Hong Kong.
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Amazon is finally making a delivery drone that doesn’t just keep attacking flying at you if you’re yelling and waving your arms.
Some context: in an effort to fuel our endless addiction for same-day delivery, Amazon and its competitors have been looking to the skies to skip highways and roads congested with delivery trucks and morning commuters.
Amazon Prime Air — the retail giant’s drone delivery system concept — has been in the works since December of 2013, when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos promised the company wuld make 30-minute deliveries of packages up to 5 pounds (2.25 kg). In 2016, the first public trial took place in Cambridge, England.
If Amazon has its way, drones are going to be delivering those nose-hair clippers you ordered, lickety-split. But what’s not yet clear is how those drones are going to fit in with the rest of society. The U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is still catching up, creating and modifying its regulations to allow for drones to operate commercially.
Now, Amazon has filed a patent for a delivery drone more responsive to the humans around it. The drone would be equipped with technology that would make it responsive to the frantic calls and hand-waving of nearby humans. According to GeekWire, the concept dates back to 2014, and is a continuation of an earlier patent intended to smooth over UAV-human interaction.
A quick glance at the patent’s A+ illustrations indicates the huge comedic potential of having your neighbor yelling “SIT!” and “LAND!” while waving his arms at the UAV delivering his electric toothbrush.
To do this, a drone would have to be equipped with a host of sensors, from depth sensors and infrared, along with extremely sensitive microphones.
But the drones already on the market today are nearly there. For instance, the DJI Spark released in 2017 can be controlled Jedi-mind-tricks-style with a raised arm.
According to the patent, Amazon drones will be able to do this, plus follow bystanders’ directions from the roof of the delivery vehicle to the recipient’s home (though it’s hard to imagine that neighbors would necessarily know that you ordered something 30 minutes ago, or, if they’re like mine, that they would, you know, actually be helpful).
But the patent raises more questions than answers. Could the drone still deliver to your home when you’re not there? What if, when you flail your arms to get the drone to back off, it kept going and chopped off your arm instead? Would Amazon cover the return shipping of your medical bill?