Smuggler Tries Hiding NVIDIA GPUs With Live Lobsters But Authorities Fished It Out

Live lobster with a rubber band on its claw.
Authorities in Hong Kong sniffed out something fishy as two men driving a white van attempted to pass through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a 34-mile bridge and tunnel system spanning the Lingding and Jiuzhous channels. What they discovered is an alleged smuggling operation with the van packed to the gills with live lobsters and 70 "high-value" graphics cards. Hey, it beats trying to fake a pregnancy to smuggle a belly full of Intel CPUs, right?

The reported total market value estimate of the van's contents rings in at around $600,000. If convicted, the two men, aged 37 and 51 years old, face up to a $2 million fine and seven years behind bars—Hong Kong doesn't mess around when it comes to its Import and Export Ordinance.

"Customs will continue to combat cross-boundary smuggling activities with firm enforcement action based on risk assessment and intelligence analysis," the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region stated in a press release.

NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards on a table.

One of the photos shared by customs officials show a whole bunch of NVIDIA Quadro K2200 graphics cards laid out on a table. These are older cards based on NVIDIA's 28-nanometer Maxwell graphics architecture. Built for professional use cases, the Quadro K2200 sports 640 CUDA cores and 4GB of GDDR5 memory tied to a 128-bit bus for 80.19GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The Quadro K2200 launched at $599 but that was nearly a decade ago (July of 2014). These days you can find plenty of listings on eBay priced at $45 or less. So for customs officials to label these as high-value GPUs is disingenuous. It also calls into question the claimed $600,000 valuation for the GPUs and lobsters combined.

Smuggled lobsters in crates.

Regarded the unmanifested live lobsters, authorities say they seized over 600 pounds of the delicious crustaceans. Ironic fact: lobsters at one point in time were so plentiful that they were once served as prison food. Now they're considered a delicacy and we highly doubt the smugglers, if convicted and locked up, will be feasting on anything of the sort.