Smuggler hides 202 Intel CPUs in a fake ‘baby bump’
Air travel while pregnant is never easy. But whatever the privations of mothers getting through invasive security and cramped airplane cabins, they probably don’t have it as hard as someone who’s faking a pregnancy to get some illicit goods past international customs. Such was the case with one “pregnant” traveler, stopped by Chinese customs in Gongbei Port. After a piece of tape on her swollen baby bump raised eyebrows, it was discovered to be a fake.
MyDrivers reports that inside a silicone “belly” were 202 Intel CPUs and nine iPhones, wrapped in protective plastic. Depending on the specific model of Alder Lake processor — unclear from the security video — the haul was worth tens of thousands of dollars at least, and possibly more than a hundred thousand. HotHardware estimates a maximum retail value of $164,226, if all of them were the most powerful Core i9 chip. Of course, that doesn’t include profits from selling on the grey market.
Chip smuggling is nothing new, in China and beyond. As immensely valuable electronics that are physically tiny, CPUs have the same kind of appeal as diamonds or luxury watches, maximizing potential profits per run for avoiding customs and import taxes. Customs officers were tipped off by the woman’s unnatural gait and her report that she was “five or six months pregnant,” despite looking much further along, to the point that a genuine pregnancy would have been dangerous to fly with.
If you’re tempted to make a smuggler’s run of your own with some clever fake body parts, remember that you’ll probably be trying for the first time, and customs agents see this sort of thing every day.