The strangest things seized by Hong Kong and Chinese customs: diamonds in his shoes, snakes in stockings and 40-year-old meat

Customs officials on the Hong Kong-China border regularly find everything from drugs to cigarettes to illicit fuel. Sometimes, they come across something different. Here are five weird things smugglers have tried to get through

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 6:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 6:47pm

On Monday, Chinese authorities arrested a Hong Kong driver for attempting to smuggle HK$11.9 million (US$1.5 million) worth of gold across the Hong Kong-China border. While not an everyday occurrence, it was far from being the strangest contraband seized by Hong Kong customs officers or their colleagues on the other side, in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. We look back at five unusual items intercepted:

1. Snakes in stockings

Last year, customs officers in Luohu, Shenzhen foiled a man’s attempt to smuggle in four live snakes from Hong Kong. The four endangered reptiles were hidden in stockings. Bringing reptiles into China isn’t illegal. However, import and quarantine certificates are required.

2. Frozen meat from the 1970s

This isn’t fictitious. In 2015, a joint operation between Hong Kong and Chinese authorities intercepted a network, using Hong Kong as a point of transit to smuggle frozen meat to Vietnam with packing labels dating back as far as the 1970s.

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Interviewed by the South China Morning Post three years ago, associate professor of applied biology and chemical technology Leung Ka-sing said that the meat likely contained large amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.

3. Bottles of sperm

In 2016, customs in Lo Wu checked a local man who had two bottles filled with a suspicious liquid. It was quickly found out that the two 100ml bottles on ice contained human semen. The bottles – bound for a “fertility clinic” – were confiscated by customs. Under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance, such liquid can only be brought into Hong Kong with a valid permit.

4. 102 iPhones taped to woman’s body

Last July, a woman was caught carrying 102 iPhones and 15 Tissot watches, taped around her chest and waist, according to reports from local media. Customs officers from Luohu checkpoint stopped the woman after her upper body was found to be irregularly shaped, wearing clothes that would usually only be worn during winter.

5. 1,000 diamonds hidden in shoes

In 2013, customs officers at Luohu Shenzhen intercepted a man who was tiptoeing suspiciously. He was found to be carrying 1,000 diamonds weighing 212.9 carats. Chinese customs regulations stipulate that gold, silver and other previous materials need to declared.