About 26 suppliers involved in illegal smuggling of Apple’s iPhones and iPads from Hong Kong for China’s largest online iPhone store, Lanyou Shuma.com, have been dragged to the court.
Reports revealed that about 162,000 iPhones and iPads worth CNY500m ($80m) have been smuggled in from Hong Kong over the past two years and half of the suspects were tracked as ‘housewives who regularly travel to Hong Kong’.
According to Reuters, suppliers also received CNY20 to 30 as commission for each smuggled phone to China.
The digital store, earlier one of the largest on China’s Taobao Marketplace, has been forced to shut down in April 2012 by Taobao following the launch of investigation by the Hong Kong authorities on smuggling charges of the iPhone 4S.
Electronics and luxury products involve steep import and luxury duties for their sale in China, accordingly many Chinese prefer shop for such products in regions including Hong Kong, Europe among many other regions that have lesser duties.
China has begun crack down on smugglers over the past two years, while in 2010 the country had charged taxes on imported iPads, though they were meant for personal use.