Smuggled Camera Gear Worth Over $60 Million Seized in China

This past Wednesday, customs officers in China announced the bust of a gigantic camera smuggling operation and the arrest of 14 suspects connected with the illegal transportation of $63.5 million worth of camera equipment. The smuggling ring has allegedly smuggled 60,204 cameras, 13,623 lenses, 483 flashes, 1,025 video cameras, and 348 projectors. Since camera equipment is much cheaper to buy in Hong Kong — 20% to 30% less — smugglers profit by sneaking the gear into mainland China (avoiding customs taxes in the process) and selling it through the gray market.

You can read more about the bust over on Chinese news site nddaily (you’ll need to translate the page from Chinese).

(via nddaily via M.I.C. Gadget)

  • Me

    Ouch !

  • russianbox

    I just want to roll around on it all, it might hurt but I don’t care.


  • Tony Leonhardt

    The sheer amount of all that photography equipment listed is frighteningly psychotic to think about.

  • This Guy

    So THAT’s where all the D800s went!

  • Joey Duncan

    Anybody want to make an under the radar trip to China soon? I need a new lens…

  • Aaro Keipi

    Sounds like I need to go to Hong Kong to buy some gear…

  • TSY87

    It sounds to me that they are purchasing all that gear then secretly taking it into china?…. That’s a TON of money to front for 15 people.  

  • Ian Ludwig

    Nobodies gear shot will ever come close…

  • Aydensgrace

    So, question. If I visit Hong Kong and buy equipment there, am I allowed to take it back? Would I have to pay fees on it? 

  • Ksuwildkat

    60K cameras and fewer than 500 strobes????  Only 13K lenses?  What kind of sick photographers do they have in China?  I think David Hobby owns more than 500 strobes by himself.

  • Sdfd

    gnar gnar gnat

  • Matthew Choi

    now the Chinese officials are going to:
    a) enjoy the equipment, or
    b) get filthy rich

  • rtfe

    this ordeal should be adequately documented

  • Skydiver502

    It would be a matter of time before they start making fakes since there is such a great demand in China, and may slowly seep into the rest of the world! Horrors!!!

  • Roger

    Probably put them under a road roller like they do with pirate DVDsv -no worries they are all canons and Nikons

  • Jono Kwok

    *jaw drops*

  • Wade rose

    wow there going to put lenscrafter out of business

  • gabe sturdevant

    Canon gear is actually worth that much? Im shocked.

  • CWT

    Don’t believe you have to pay taxes as long as you don’t plan on reselling it…


    @TonyLeonhardt:disqus My cô-wôrĸer’s stêp-áunt máĸês $68/hr ôn thê intêrńet. she hás beén láiḋ ôff fôr 5 mônths but lást mońṫh her páýchecĸ was $16112 Ĵusṫ working on ṫhe ińterneṫ for a few houŕs. go ṫo ṫhiś wéb śîṫé and ŕéad

  • OSAM

    Depends on customs and importations laws.  I know in Canada you have to pay “duties” on things you import even for personal use, with no intention of reselling. There are time limitations on things like that, though: I think it’s under 6mos or a year.  Over that period, you can bring it in at no cost.

  • OSAM

    Hey, at least it’s REAL gear, not some cheap knock-off or imitation stuff.


    whats going to happen to all that gear

  • CrazyPiPo

    Holy S&#T

  • James in SZ

    I live in Shenzhen. There’s hundreds of shops that sell stuff bought from Hong Kong at a lower price than legitimate stores that pay taxes in China. Problem is if you don’t pay the tax you don’t get any warranty here (for Nikon/Canon products).

    Be careful when buying products from HK. Not all companies offer global warranty coverage. There’s big money in smuggling stuff into China from HK (Hong Kong is tax free), so it’s one of the cheapest places in the world to buy legitimate electronics. Just a few weeks ago I bought two iPad 3’s from Hong Kong, and while back in China one person saw me using it and noticed it was an iPad 3 and offered me 1.6x more than what I paid for it. So many rich Chinese in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. 

  • stanimir stoyanov

    What are the customs guys going to do with this now? Burn all of it?

  • Sir Lensalot

    I bet every customs officer in the country will be getting a part of their bonus as a nice fat camera and lens combo. :P

  • Christopher King

     Camera equipment from the USA to Canada is only subject to sales tax, it is Duty free. Used equipment is duty free and tax free.

  • Mike

    I have heard that if you make soup out of Canon L lenses it will make you more virile.

  • Endoffairytale

    gud one 

  • Jorge

    LOL That was funny!