A young man tried to smuggle more than 1,000 diamonds into mainland China from Hong Kong by hiding them in the insoles of his shoes.
Customs officials at Luohu crossing in Shenzhen caught on to his scheme when they noticed he was walking in an odd way.
“The man was suspicious as he sometimes tiptoed. When he found that we were looking at him, he quickly shifted to normal walking posture,” a customs officer told China Xinhua News.
The alleged smuggler was instructed to remove his shoes, in which Shenzhen customs officials discovered 212.9 carats of diamonds inside bags stuffed in his insoles.
The suspect is still under investigation, but Shenzhen customs said this was the second smuggling incident in nine days.
In an unrelated case, a man was caught attempting to sneak 1,554 diamonds into mainland China inside some snack food packaging, according to Shanghaiist.
The Xinhua news agency said Shenzhen customs officers conducted a two-month anti-smuggling operation at the control point, seizing 26 cases and more than 2,200 carats of diamonds.
The minerals were smuggled into the mainland city to avoid import restrictions and taxes that totaled 20 to 30% of their value, a Hong Kong government source said according to the South China Morning Post.
“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.
He also said that the Year of the Rooster was traditionally a time when many people decide to get married, so jewelry was in such high demand, adding that carrying diamonds in and out of Hong Kong through the city’s control points did not breach any laws.