Hundreds of iPhones, other Apple products seized from smugglers at Argentine border

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2015
An illicit shipment of electronics --?including hundreds of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks --?worth nearly $800,000 has reportedly been confiscated by Argentinian tax authorities as smugglers continue to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities for Apple's high-priced devices.

In a separate case, a man tried to smuggle 94 iPhones from Hong Kong to mainland China under his clothes.
In a separate case, a man tried to smuggle 94 iPhones from Hong Kong to mainland China under his clothes.


Approximately 260 iPhones, 10 iPads, and 60 MacBooks were among the more than 500 Apple products seized by officers from Argentina's Federal Administration of Public Revenue, according to AFP. It's unclear which products constituted the remainder.

The relatively high cost of Apple's devices combined with the company's limited worldwide distribution network --?Apple retail stores operate in just 16 countries -- provides lucrative arbitrage opportunities for smugglers. Devices purchased legally in a more affordable jurisdiction can be resold, often for a huge profit, in places with higher import duties or limited points of purchase.

Hong Kong is the canonical example of such activity, given its low-tax regime and proximity to the booming mainland China market. Smugglers line up to purchase new Apple products in Hong Kong and sneak them over the border to avoid China's hefty import and luxury taxes.

Earlier this year, a man was arrested at the Hong Kong border while attempting to smuggle 94 iPhones into mainland China by taping them to his body. Border guards were alerted after the man exhibited a "weird walking posture" while approaching the checkpoint.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    adybadyb Posts: 199member
    Brings a whole new meaning to wearables!
  • Reply 2 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,737member
    The headline should read "Hundreds of Argentinian officers get new iPhones".

    I'll bet many of those officers decided to keep some of that stash to themselves.

    As long as countries and their lopsided protectionism tax laws stay in place, there will always be enterprising smugglers doing whatever it takes to get products into the hands of enthusiastic buyers.

    The demand is there Argentina. Maybe this is the canary in the tunnel?
  • Reply 3 of 20

    I think AI is lending an air of legitimacy to this by calling it an "arbitrage opportunity".   Arbitrage is legal.  Tax evasion is illegal.  The ease of the opportunity does not convert illegal into legal.  Reaching through an open window to steal an iPhone from someone's home is illegal, regardless of the lack of security and the ease of the acquisition.  That does not change the "stolen" phone into a "found" phone.  Nor does successful smuggling convert tax evasion into arbitrage.

  • Reply 4 of 20

    The photograph in this story is certainly compelling.  But the legend to the photo says it's a "separate case", which is an enormous understatement.  The  photo illustrates not just a separate case, but an unrelated incident, involving different countries, on the other side of the Earth.

  • Reply 5 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The relatively high cost of Apple's devices combined with the company's limited worldwide distribution network --?Apple retail stores operate in just 16 countries -- provides lucrative arbitrage opportunities for smugglers. 

     

    “Limited worldwide distribution network?” What a crock of bull dung. Does Samsung have stores over there? Does HTC? Does Google? NO. They sell world wide through online stores and so does Apple. Smugglers want Apple products because they are popular and they can make good money on them. They don’t smuggle Galaxy S6s because nobody wants them and if they do they can get them for next to nothing.

  • Reply 6 of 20
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,252member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

     

    I think AI is lending an air of legitimacy to this by calling it an "arbitrage opportunity".   Arbitrage is legal.  Tax evasion is illegal.  The ease of the opportunity does not convert illegal into legal.  Reaching through an open window to steal an iPhone from someone's home is illegal, regardless of the lack of security and the ease of the acquisition.  That does not change the "stolen" phone into a "found" phone.  Nor does successful smuggling convert tax evasion into arbitrage.




    You are correct about your observation. When I read the article, I felt AI was blaming Apple for having stores in just 16 countries instead of having at least on store in every country in the world.

     

    On another note, the story that Samsung has been having a very difficult time in Japan remains unpublished by AI. Samsung sales in Japan have been so bad, the company has replaced its name with telephone carrier names on its S6 phones (i.e., Docomo S6) in an attempt to sell phones. The Japanese people were smart enough not to fall for the desperate branding move. If Samsung's problem was Apple's problem there would not be enough digital ink stopping AI from publishing multiple articles about it while praising Samsung.

  • Reply 7 of 20
    The photograph in this story is certainly compelling.  But the legend to the photo says it's a "separate case", which is an enormous understatement.  The  photo illustrates not just a separate case, but an unrelated incident, involving different countries, on the other side of the Earth.

    The photo is related to the last paragraph of the article.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    I will not make a comment about that photo...I will not make a comment about that photo...I will not make a comment about that photo...I will not make a comment about that photo...I will not make a comment about that photo...I will not make a comment about that photo...
  • Reply 9 of 20
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

     

    I think AI is lending an air of legitimacy to this by calling it an "arbitrage opportunity".   Arbitrage is legal.  Tax evasion is illegal.  The ease of the opportunity does not convert illegal into legal.  Reaching through an open window to steal an iPhone from someone's home is illegal, regardless of the lack of security and the ease of the acquisition.  That does not change the "stolen" phone into a "found" phone.  Nor does successful smuggling convert tax evasion into arbitrage.


     

    Yep, the main problem is HIGH TAXES!!!  Crazy High Taxes!!!  People want all this so called FREE stuff from the Government, problem is the Government doesn't make money.  Well it does literally I guess, and it can devalue the money, but it doesn't just come out of thin Air.  They have to take it from the People!!!  You can only steal such much from the Rich until you have to start taking it form the middle class and then the Poor and before you know it, taxes are sky high for everyone.  But you got your free stuff.  Your free crappy health care and whatnot, but it's free right,.oh wait,......  $1200 16 gig iPhones!!

  • Reply 10 of 20
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,870member
    They found a Sammy in his anal cavity but determined it actually belonged there.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,794member
    You'd think wearing dozens of iPhones and MacBooks would set off airport metal detectors.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AdyB View Post



    Brings a whole new meaning to wearables!

     

    Yeah, and several of them are of the highly personal kind...

  • Reply 13 of 20
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 222member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    “Limited worldwide distribution network?” What a crock of bull dung. Does Samsung have stores over there? Does HTC? Does Google? NO. They sell world wide through online stores and so does Apple. Smugglers want Apple products because they are popular and they can make good money on them. They don’t smuggle Galaxy S6s because nobody wants them and if they do they can get them for next to nothing.
    I concur. Lol. I was thinking the same thing.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,383member

    You are correct about your observation. When I read the article, I felt AI was blaming Apple for having stores in just 16 countries instead of having at least on store in every country in the world.

    On another note, the story that Samsung has been having a very difficult time in Japan remains unpublished by AI. Samsung sales in Japan have been so bad, the company has replaced its name with telephone carrier names on its S6 phones (i.e., Docomo S6) in an attempt to sell phones. The Japanese people were smart enough not to fall for the desperate branding move. If Samsung's problem was Apple's problem there would not be enough digital ink stopping AI from publishing multiple articles about it while praising Samsung.

    Right, and in fact I suspect Samsung have people leaving Japan daily (and many other places) with hundreds of Android devices taped under their coats so as to cover up the fact the shipped inventory was not sold. :D
  • Reply 15 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    You'd think wearing dozens of iPhones and MacBooks would set off airport metal detectors.

    If memory serves, I recall taking a boat from Hong Kong across the harbor into Shenzhen, China and didn't have to walk through a metal detector there.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Right, and in fact I suspect Samsung have people leaving Japan daily (and many other places) with hundreds of Android devices taped under their coats so as to cover up the fact the shipped inventory was not sold. :D

    A person caught wearing dozens of hidden taped Samsung phones can be prosecuted for wearing a "suicide vest".
  • Reply 17 of 20
    fulwildfulwild Posts: 15member
    This has nothing to do with arbitrage which is the simultaneous buying low in one market and selling high in another.

    From Wikipedia
    "Arbitrage is not simply the act of buying a product in one market and selling it in another for a higher price at some later time. The transactions must occur simultaneously to avoid exposure to market risk, or the risk that prices may change on one market before both transactions are complete. In practical terms, this is generally possible only with securities and financial products that can be traded electronically, and even then, when each leg of the trade is executed the prices in the market may have moved."
  • Reply 18 of 20
    I bet those iPhones will be used and sold by government who confiscated items.
  • Reply 19 of 20

    This guy is a bit crazy who do not care about his health. 

  • Reply 20 of 20
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
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