Traveler Caught Smuggling Moutai Disguised as Shower Gel

By Billy Jiang, March 20, 2024

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In a tale that's equal parts James Bond and Mr. Bean, a traveler attempted a booze-fueled caper at Gongbei Port, trying to sneak eight bottles of Moutai disguised as shower gel into Zhuhai.

However, the plot fizzled out when sharp-eyed customs officials caught wind of the fragrant fraud.

Around 10pm on March 9, a man named Li passed through the 'Nothing to Declare' channel at Gongbei Port immigration hall, and was intercepted by on-site customs officers. 

Upon inspection, officers found that Li was carrying two bags containing a total of eight bottles of shower gel. 

Interestingly, none of the shower gel bottles showed any signs of being opened, but each bottle had a noticeable seam at the bottom. 

Upon opening them, customs officers discovered that each shower gel bottle contained a bottle of Moutai.


The truth of what seemed like innocent bottles of shower gel. Image by China Customs official WeChat

This creative smuggling method is not entirely new; three years ago a similar incident occurred at Gongbei Customs. 

In January 2021, Zhuhai Customs released a statement on their WeChat channel, revealing that they had recently uncovered three cases of liquor smuggling at Gongbei Port in which travelers attempted to sneak alcohol into Zhuhai by modifying shower gel bottles, baby strollers, backpacks, and even dolls.

The sudsy scheme remains consistent: cutting open the bottom of the shower gel bottles and inserting Moutai bottles inside. 

Perhaps Li was inspired by these past incidents. But alas, his attempt was unsuccessful.

Many may wonder why Moutai, the iconic Chinese baijiu, is cheaper to buy abroad than in China itself. 

One significant reason is China's tax policies on exported liquor. 

China incentivizes the export of high-end liquor by offering a 15% tax rebate on exported liquor, while domestically consumed high-end liquor is subject to a 20% consumption tax.

You do the math!

Moutai, known far and wide as the toast of China, is often used in marketing gimmicks, from a Moutai latte previously offered by Luckin Coffee to Moutai-themed hotel rooms.

READ MORE: Moutai's Quirky Marketing: From Coffee to Hotel Rooms

Have you ever tasted Moutai? Feel free to share your experience with us. For more intriguing news updates, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via China Customs official WeChat]

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