Hong Kong authorities recently caught a pair of smugglers who tried to transport a van full of live lobsters and some outdated graphics processing units (GPUs) to China. The goods were valued at around $76,500, but no paperwork accompanied the shipment.
According to The Verge, the loot was intercepted last week as the vehicle attempted to enter the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a 55-kilometer network of roads, bridges, and tunnels around the Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong Customs discovered around 280 kilograms of live lobsters and 70 “high-value computer display cards.”
The Hong Kong authorities posted an image of the “display cards,” which appeared to be outdated Quadro GPUs with two HDMI slots and a single DVI connector. Nvidia introduced these devices in the mid-2010s, and they now cost approximately $160 each.
Hong Kong Customs vowed to investigate the matter, which is similar to an incident where a man was caught taping hundreds of Intel CPUs to his legs in an attempt to get to China from Macau.
Regardless, the caper highlights cross-border activities in the Pearl River Delta and emphasizes the use of “evasion routes” to smuggle forbidden tech across borders due to US export sanctions.
While the destination of the shipment is unknown, it is likely headed for the mainland since Macau is a small territory with few buyers. The incident raises concerns about the impact of US export sanctions on the tech industry and the emergence of illegal cross-border tech trade.
US authorities have pledged to clamp down on such activities, but these incidents show that smuggling techniques are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to track. It is essential to continue monitoring these cross-border shenanigans to prevent further illegal activities.