Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday said that they had arrested and initiated legal proceedings against an airplane maintenance technician at Tan Son Nhat International Airport for his role in smuggling iPhones into Vietnam.
The airplane maintenance technician is 43-year-old Le Van Ngoc, an employee of Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company Ltd.
Another man, 33-year-old Nguyen Anh Tuan, faces the same smuggling charges and Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga, Tuan’s 29-year-old wife, was determined as his accomplice.
Customs officers at Tan Son Nhat found that Tuan had transported 12 brand-new iPhone 14 Pro Max devices from Thailand to Vietnam without making the required declaration.
The case was immediately reported the cases to local police, who subsequently conducted an investigation.
Police uncovered that Tuan and Nga had smuggled over 600 iPhone 14 Pro Max devices, valued at nearly VND20 billion (US$821,000), from Thailand into Vietnam.
Tuan and Nga collaborated with Ngoc to take advantage of Ngoc’s aircraft maintenance duties in order to facilitate the transportation of the iPhones on flights which corresponded to Ngoc’s maintenance schedule.
Upon an aircraft’s arrival at the apron, while passengers disembarked and Ngoc prepared to maintenance the plane, he would collect Tuan’s bag at the exit and conceal it within his tool box.
After completing aircraft maintenance work, Ngoc would exit the airport through the domestic terminal in order to evade a customs inspection.
He would then deliver the iPhones to Nga outside the airport.
Ngoc received a payment of VND900,000 ($37) per smuggled iPhone.
The investigation uncovered that Ngoc had received over VND500 million ($20,500) as payment for his role in smuggling the iPhones.
The investigation is ongoing.