back to article Woman fakes pregnancy to smuggle hundreds of CPUs, iPhones into China

If you think you can fool customs officials into believing you are pregnant and not, in fact, smuggling hundreds of Intel processors and iPhones in a prosthetic strapped to your belly, think again. That's what a woman learned when she attempted such a feat at the Gongpei Port's customs checkpoint in China, according to …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Bit of an odd one. I'd have thought China would welcome all the current US technology they could get. Unless of course these were private smugglers, which would be a big no-no, and the goods were therefore impounded for "disposal" by the State ...

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      1. send a goon out to buy the stuff

      2. let them smuggle it out of the country

      3. "attempt" to smuggle into the PRC

      4. impound them, outrage, news "we are policing our borders" abound

      5. "confiscate" the chips you sent said goon to buy in 1.

    2. sten2012 Bronze badge

      Was going to say the same.

      Why would I go out of my way to enforce a rule against my own citizens on behalf of the people that imposed it only to hurt me? Odd!

      Maybe the fact you can't charge import duty? I dunno

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. b0llchit Silver badge

    When those processors and phones are, ehm, delivered,... do they cry or are they stillborn?

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    If I were going to smuggle chips, especially large BGA ones, I'd try hot-melt gluing them to the PCBs of otherwise allowed stuff like cheap radios. Scans wouldn't show anything abnormal, and the average customs agent probably doesn't have the training to spot that such a chip is unconnected and out of place on an FM radio board, even if they could be bothered to do a visual inspection.

    Try to pass them off in a fake baby bulge seems doomed to failure.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Welcome to the watch list Phil ;-)

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      It was always easier to ship items to Hong Kong and let the locals to their normal daily work driving over the border, I saw that work with no issues at all for years. And as a student I had friends who would fly to Holland and then come back home, walking through customs with a pussy full of decent drugs.

      I've never done this sort of thing myself but it's always been educational and fun looking at these events.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Did the cat never complain? Or was it happy with its cut of the profits?

        1. Ace2 Silver badge

          +1 for comment/username synergy

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    As always with claims of triumph from Customs

    For one caught, how many are going through?

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  5. Little Mouse Silver badge

    There's an art to looking convincingly pregnant, one lost on the majority of TV actors. There's so much more to it than just having a fake bump.

    Similarly, it's fun to see when they try to disguise someone's real-life pregnancy on TV by hiding the bump with conveniently-placed props, forgetting that the way the person walks and stands just screams out "Pregnant person!".

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Personal favourite was giant handbag.

      Can't remember the series -about some divorced men. Very tall female neighbour with tiny assistant. In their defence, they did make it obvious that it was all a joke.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Ex's!

        Anon because it really is a terrible show. But I watched it all anyway.

        Guilty "pleasure" is a bit strong of a description. Guilty watchable maybe - the shame still stands though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Never watched it, but there are some series that you get so far though, you just want to make it to the end to see how it finishes

    2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Costuming -- like hiding under jackets -- often gives it away. Example: B'Elanna Torres in "Star Trek: Voyager".

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Looking Pregnant

      Also the reverse is true.

      A schoolfriend got his girlfriend pregnant (I don't know if they knew at the time), I walked into the pub, they were playing the Moon Cresta video game her whole posture had changed & I went to myself "Pregnant!".

      Couple of weeks later my father said to me

      "Ian's got Di up the duff"

      :"I know"

      "*Fred only told me today, how did you find out"

      I could tell when I went into "The Stars" & saw how she was standing by the space invader.

      *Father worked for schoolfriends dad & friend was paired with my dad as apprentice.

      Icon - A pint for those carefree days of long ago of drinking "On probation" while underage in the same pubs as our fathers drank in.

    4. Outski

      Easiest way with telly is to write the pregnancy into the script, particularly with soaps; plot the character going away whenever the actor's baby is due, give them a prosthetic once they've had it, and you can write in a very realistic delivery scene.

    5. DS999 Silver badge

      I saw an article about this a couple days ago

      Which said the thing that alerted customs officials is that she was walking without difficulty despite the large belly. She needed more weight in the belly (CPUs and boxed iPhones are a lot less dense than amniotic fluid) to make it harder for her to stand upright and walk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I saw an article about this a couple days ago

        Ta. That has been added to the notes.

        This forum is a goldmine, v2 is going to work for sure.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is there import duty on iPhone sin China? Since they're made there they don't need to be imported - what am I missing in this?

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Big Brother

      iPhones are /ideologically/ American, therefore banned?

      1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

        But if the iPhone is "born" in China, doesn't this make them Chinese?

        Maybe the Chinese do not use the "ius soli".

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      In the UK

      There isn't an 'import duty' but it would be a lot cheaper importing phones that didn't have VAT attached. Plus they cost a little less in the US even ignoring VAT.

      If they are sufficiently cheaper elsewhere, regardless of the reason, there will be incentive for smuggling. Either stuffing 3 or 4 in your suitcase for your friends/relatives when you visit the US and 'forgetting' to declare them to customs or going industrial scale like she tried.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: In the UK

        "Plus they cost a little less in the US even ignoring VAT."

        Warranty duration is also costed in. In the UK and EU, that's two years, not one, as Apple "discovered" to their cost in Italy when selling "extended" warranties based on only one year MFG warranty.

      2. VicMortimer

        Re: In the UK

        But the US ones don't have a SIM card slot any more. Apple's idiotically gone entirely e-SIM now.

  7. Al fazed



  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't that set off metal detectors?

    Most developing babies are non-magnetic* so they should be fine, but chips and metal detectors don't go together so why was that not picked up there?

    * As far as I know :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't that set off metal detectors?

      Silicon is non-magnetic too. It would show up a mm wave camera though...

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Won't that set off metal detectors?

        What about the pins though.

        1. Little Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Won't that set off metal detectors?

          You can't be putting pins in a baby. Even for Science.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Won't that set off metal detectors?

        Most circuitry is non magnetic, but because they're circuits they tend to resonate in whatever makes a metal detector work.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Won't that set off metal detectors?

      To prevent an annoying amount of false alarms they probably have to have the sensitivity dialed down with how many younger people have piercings, and older people have artificial joints.

      So I wouldn't expect CPUs to trigger it, but iPhones would given the metal case.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would like to compliment El Reg

    .. for that subhead :)

  10. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    ...they found the woman was not expecting...

    Well, she clearly was expecting - expecting to get through with this stunt.

  11. Bartholomew Bronze badge

    Was expecting to see

    Woman caught with "Intel Inside"

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Was expecting to see

      Sub-head: "Now that's what we call Intel Inside"

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    If there were internal customs borders in Australia, just think of the amount of trade enterprising Kangaroos could do.

    As a matter of fact, do kangaroos compete against Deliverroo in Australia?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Australia

      Deliveroo has just pulled out of Oz. They don’t like paying proper wages or something, but it could be because of the Kangaroo Mafia!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you need to smuggle chips, put them inside fish.

    Add a bag of pickled onions to complete the ruse.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Fish!

      And slap the iPhones inside a parmo[1] - no wimpy x-ray is getting through a proper 'boro parmo

      [1] that is a classic chicken parmesan with a NE England twist[2]

      [2] in your stomach, best to keep the Rennies to hand, you Southern person[3]

      [3] sorry, but I can't do the accent [4]

      [4] actually, I can, but I won't

  14. Not Yb Bronze badge

    Found: the CPUs taped to the truck driver

    (possibly) Not found: the rest of them hidden in the cargo

    Depending on the penalties, this may still have been quite lucrative for the driver (if true)

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