Smuggler tries to scoot 84 SSDs into China, gets busted

Qingmao Customs discovers an e-scooter filled with SSDs
(Image credit: Qingmao Customs)

Chinese customs has uncovered someone trying to smuggle SSDs into the country inside an e-scooter. Now I know what you're thinking, there's not much space for anything inside an e-scooter's compact frame, but you'd be wrong. And it's that sort of thinking that the smugglers thought would get them across the border home-free. Alas, it didn't.

Qingmao Customs seized a scooter with 84 M.2 SSDs stored in the upright between the scooter's handlebars and front wheel, in an attempt to bypass Chinese import duty or restrictions at the Zhuhai-Macao Cross-Border Industrial Zone (via WCCFTech). The scooter was spotted as it was pushed through an X-ray scanner.

"At about 13:00 on March 3, a mainland passenger pushed an electric scooter to enter the country through the 'non-declaration channel' at the special port of the cross-border industrial zone," a release says. "It passed the electric scooter through the machine for inspection, and the passing machine image showed that there was a massive unknown object on the front bumper of the electric scooter. 

"After dismantling the front bumper, 84 Kingston brand solid-state drives hidden in the axle tube were seized, and the case has been further dealt with in accordance with regulations."

You can actually watch a clip of the would-be smuggler making the attempt to get the SSDs through customs before getting caught red-handed. The SSDs are removed from the scooter right before their eyes.

The drives are manufactured by Kingston, however, it's tough to make out the exact model due to the quality of the images.

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The Zhuhai region of China surrounds Macao, which is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This zone is noted as a busy spot for import and export into the area and wider country, and it neighbours the other major trade hub of Hong Kong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. It was actually in Zhuhai where customs officials found a smuggler attempting to bring 200 CPUs into the country under the guise of being pregnant, stuffing them under a prosthetic.

Chinese customs have found all sorts of hardware smuggled into the country in weird ways. Last year one man tried to walk 160 CPUs into the country taped to his body, but was busted for his abnormal walk. You'd think that'd be the first thing you'd master before attempting to smuggle goods. Another case saw $3 million worth of AMD GPUs attempted to be brought into the country, but rather than strap 5,840 GPUs to some poor soul these were just mislabelled on the box they were sent in. 

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.