Trying to get your hands on some of Apple's highly sought after iHardware in Hong Kong? There's a zip line for that, courtesy of some creative Chinese smugglers. China has already had some crazy stories concerning Apple products--take the fake Apple stores, for instance--but this latest story may just take the cake, or, well, the iPad, if you will.
Normally, when one thinks of smuggling, images of clandestine operations featuring port authorities and greased pockets come to mind, but with this particular group, they decided to try something a little easier than bribing transportation officials to look the other way. In fact, the idea was so simple, it has to be considered brilliant. Instead of hidden cargo in the bays of planes and/or boats, the smugglers in question used zip lines.
Yes, the same kind of contraption that appears in the lead image; although, it's not known whether or not attractive, barefoot blondes were escorting the Apple products or not. Considering the ethnic makeup of the region, it's doubtful. Gizchina has more details on the brilliant-yet-simple plan:
The creative smugglers attached one end of a strong fishing line to the 21st storey of a Shenzhen high-rise and shot the other end across the Sha Tau Kok river to a small rural house in Hong Kong with a crossbow!
Sadly, as TC points out, the authorities did, in fact, break up the simple-yet-effective smuggling method, and according to news reports, when the contraption was shutdown, almost $50,000 worth of Apple hardware was recovered. Of course, that figure doesn't include the amount of hardware that made it across.
The majority of the iHardware being smuggled across were iPad 2s and iPhone 4s. After authorities intervened, local news reports released some video of the operation, and although the news is presented in Chinese, it's easy to get a good idea of what occurred:
Much like the iPhone that survived the parachute mishap, news like this is the kind of marketing one cannot buy. Whether Apple approves of the smuggling or not, simply knowing people in China and Hong Kong are going through such efforts to acquire Apple hardware has to instill a since of pride. The tagline almost writes itself: "Apple: Our products are so freaking awesome, people will invent new smuggling techniques to acquire our goods."
Or, maybe, they could do another "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" commercial with a witty Justin Long and a stodgy John Hodgman, saying, "Hey PC, do people smuggle Windows phones between countries using zip lines?" "Only to get rid of them, Mac."
One wonders what these enterprising smugglers will do when the iPhone 5 hits.