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Smuggler busted heading for China with dodgy GPUs … and live lobsters

A new twist on fast food

Hong Kong authorities have caught a pair of smugglers who attempted to shift a vanload of live lobsters, along with some decrepit GPUs, into China.

The loot was intercepted last week as the vehicle moved to enter the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge – a 55km collection of roads (some on artificial islands!), bridges, and tunnels around the Pearl River Delta.

Hong Kong Customs found about 280 kilograms of live lobsters and 70 "high-value computer display cards" – but no paperwork. The goods were valued at around HK$600,000 ($76,500).

An image of the "display cards" posted by Hong Kong authorities shows a table-load of cards that sport a pair of HDMI slots and a single DVI connector. We fancy the Nvidia logo is visible, as is the name "Quadro" and that the units resemble the K2200 (PDF).

Which is a very odd thing to smuggle. Nvidia introduced those devices in the mid-2010s and they can now be had for about $160 apiece.

In other words, not a GPU that gamers or cryptominers will rush to buy, nor that Chinese authorities will welcome as a sanction-busting success story that will ensure local AI efforts thrive.

The combination of seafood and silicon is also incongruous – unless the shipment was destined for an outré restaurant at which seafood is grilled atop vintage GPUs.

Yes, The Register will be demanding a slice of the action from whichever chef picks up on that idea.

Hong Kong authorities have vowed to get to the bottom of this fishy business – which is just what they said when The Register spotted them busting a chap who taped hundreds of Intel CPUs to his legs and tried to get to China from Macau.

The statement announcing this bust doesn't mention whether Macau or the mainland city of Zhuhai was the intended destination for this cargo. The Register fancies it was the mainland, as Macau is a tiny territory with few buyers.

Whatever the details of this caper, it highlights cross-border shenanigans in the Pearl River Delta, and reminds us that US export sanctions have given rise to "evasion routes" used to move forbidden tech across borders.

US authorities have vowed to crack down on such traffic. ®

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