Police in south China's Shenzhen said Thursday they have busted six gangs and detained 26 suspects who used drones to smuggle electronic devises across the border from neighboring Hong Kong.
The gangs used a drone to set up a cable linking two high-rise apartments on opposite sides of the border and transported the goods with a power-driven winch.
The smugglers usually operated after midnight and the method proved efficient. A small bag containing 10 cell phones could be transported across the 200-meter cable in less than two minutes. Overnight, smugglers could transport as many as 15,000 cell phones across the border.
By the time Shenzhen authorities caught up with the gangs on Feb. 1, they estimated that the smuggled goods, mainly refurbished iPhones, had an accumulated worth of some 500 million yuan (about 78 million U.S. dollars).
The authorities will counter the new type of smuggling with high-tech devises of their own, planning to use drones and high-resolution monitors to enhance their capability to detect criminal activities.