They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but the reaction to a man’s attempt to sneak the precious gems into a Chinese city was anything but friendly.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that a young man was apprehended on his way into Shenzhen City from nearby Hong Kong with 1,000 diamonds hidden in his shoes.
According to the report, customs officials discovered 212.9 carats of diamonds stashed underneath the insoles of the man’s Anta sneakers. Officials say they were tipped off by the man’s unusual posture.
“The man was suspicious as he sometimes tiptoed. When he found that we were looking at him, he quickly shifted to a normal walking posture,” a customs officer told Xinhua.
The Hong Kong border has apparently become something of a hot spot for diamond smugglers. Just days before the attempted sneaker smuggling, officers caught a man with 1,554 diamonds hidden within snack food packaging.
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A Hong Kong government source tells South China Morning Post that the smugglers are likely trying to evade import restrictions and taxes, which can equate to as much as 20 to 30 percent of their value. “We believe the diamonds were being taken to the mainland’s processing factories to make jewelry before being smuggled back to Hong Kong,” the source said.
The source also speculates that the spike in diamond smuggling could be connected to an increased demand for jewelry during the Year of the Rooster, which is traditionally considered a good time to get married.