A mother in Shenzhen was arrested by Chinese customs officers on the border with Hong Kong on Sunday after 80 iPhones were found on her and her two daughters, authorities said.

The woman and her children were stopped and searched on Chung Ying Street, a famous borderzone street where one side is within mainland China and the other administered by Hong Kong.

iphone smuggling
Customs officers display the confiscated iPhones. Photo: People’s Daily.

Customs officers said the children, who were sitting on a bicycle pushed by their mother, were “usually nervous”, reported People’s Daily.

A total of 15 iPhone 6S Plus devices were found to have been strapped onto the suspect’s body while 65 others of the same models were found on the girls, according to the Shenzhen Shatoujiao Customs.

Because of the retail price difference in Apple products sold in Hong Kong and mainland China, it’s not uncommon for authorities from both sides of the border to catch those who attempted to smuggle iPhones and iPads out of the SAR and sell them in the mainland for a profit.

iphone smuggling
Chung Ying Street. Photo: Wikicommons.

The iPhone 6S Plus is currently being sold in Hong Kong for between HK$6,388 and HK$8,088. In China, the same model costs between RMB6,088 and RMB7,788, which is equal to HK$7,441 to HK$9,524.

Eighty iPhones 6S Plus phones are worth about HK$510,000 to HK$647,000. Last month, the Shenzhen customs said those taking models bought in Hong Kong back to China need to pay a ten percent tariff.

According to Chinese law, smuggling goods and evading tariffs of RMB50,000 to RMB150,000 carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Those who instigate the underaged to commit crimes are often punished severely.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.