Last week a man was caught trying to smuggle more than 1000 diamonds into Shenzhen by stuffing them into the soles of his shoes, bringing to mind a certain Paul Simon song. On March 13, customs officers at the Luohu checkpoint noticed that the young man was walking shiftily while attempting to cross the border from Hong Kong into the mainland.
A customs officer by the last name of Wang told a Xinhua reporter: “The man was suspicious as he sometimes tiptoed. When he found that we were looking at him, he quickly shifted to normal walking posture."
We aren’t yet sure of the suspect’s name, but for now we’re calling him Al.
After the man was pulled aside and asked to remove his shoes, 212.9 carats of diamonds were found inside small bags hidden under his insoles. The incident is still being investigated, but this marks the second time this month that smugglers were caught trying to sneak diamonds into graceland – sorry, the mainland.
More than 1000 diamonds were found stuffed under the insoles of the man's shoes.
On March 4, Xinhua reported, customs officers at Luohu Port seized 1554 diamonds hidden inside "nut packaging" carried by another would-be smuggler.
Over the last few weeks, Shenzhen customs officers at the Luohu checkpoint have been cracking down on smuggling. So far they have racked up 26 cases of diamond smuggling, and seized 2244 carats of the gemstones.
A "Hong Kong government source" told South China Morning Post that diamonds are smuggled in an effort to evade import restrictions and mainland taxes. Once they're set in jewelry in the mainland, they're then smuggled back to Hong Kong.
According to the deputy secretary-general in the diamond division of the Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China, Shenzhen is the biggest jewelry hub in the country. Around 90 percent of diamonds consumed domestically pass through the city for trade or jewelry manufacturing, although we're not sure whether that statistic includes smuggled goods or not.
With all the jewel trade going on, here's some advice for would-be diamond smugglers: next time, try wearing gumboots.
[Images via SCMP, Shanghaiist]
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