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China cracks down on housewives smuggling iPhones

Suppliers of China's largest online iPhone retailer have been tried in court for smuggling iPhones and iPads into the country.

According to Beijing News, 26 suppliers of Lanyou were tried in a Shenzhen court for smuggling more than 162,000 mobile phones worth over 500 million yuan ($80 million) from Hong Kong over the past two years, reports Reuters.

Another Chinese publication, the Southern Metropolis Daily, described half the suspects as housewives who often travelled to Hong Kong and were paid to bring back phones to the mainland.

Since China levies steep import taxes on electronics, the defendants will be tried for evading taxes on the smuggled electronics which include iPhones and iPads. Many Chinese prefer to shop for these products in places like Hong Kong or Europe where the duties are lower, leading to a booming smuggling industry which China is cracking down on.

The Lanyou digital store, once China's largest online tech retailer, was forced to close in April after Hong Kong authorities launched an investigation on possible smuggling of the iPhone 4S, reports the Beijing News.

Image Credit: Flickr (blakespot)