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Published: March 15, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • A man has been caught trying to smuggle PC central processing units to China
  • The police seized 160 Intel CPUs and 16 phones that he had strapped to his body
  • This smuggling attempt shows the black market is keen to benefit from the global shortages of PC parts

Chinese customs officers apprehended a man who tried to smuggle 160 CPUs and 16 phones to China.

A Man Attempted to Smuggle 160 CPUs

As if the world of tech and gaming didn’t provide enough unorthodox news already, Weibo reported a man has been arrested in China after trying to smuggle 160 Intel CPU chips into the country by taping them to his body.

The odd situation occurred on March 9 when Chinese customs officials saw a person move in an unusual manner. When they apprehended him, it turned out his weird walking was because of tons of duct tape he used to strap Intel chips to his body. The customs officers counted 160 CPUs in total. All of them were either generation 11 or generation 12. To top it, the man had strapped 16 foldable smartphones to his body as well.

Weibo’s report didn’t specify the exact models of the CPUs and phones. However, Dot Esports journalists estimated that the total sum of the chips and phones could be as high as $120,000, provided all CPUs and phones are the latest models available.

The Black Market Benefits from the Global Shortages

While this crime may sound a bit unusual, it is far more common than some people might think. In 2021, another person tried to sneak Intel CPUs into China using that very same method. He had even more chips strapped to his body, with the police counting 256 individual CPUs.

If we have to speculate, this method of smuggling might be even more prominent as there are likely other smugglers who never got caught. It was reported that the smugglers prefer Intel chips to AMD chips because of their flexibility – something that allows them to be seamlessly attached to a person’s body.

This wave of smuggling comes amid supply shortages that have caused the prices of certain PC parts skyrocket – some CPUs and GPUs were sold for triple their intended price. This tendency was something that has great potential to benefit the black market. While certain analysts prefer to remain optimistic and believe the shortage crisis will be over by the end of 2022, their pessimistic peers believe that the production will not catch up to the demand until 2023 or later.

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