A woman was recently arrested at the Chinese border for allegedly trying to smuggle a whopping 22 pounds of high-value alcohol into the country.
Border officials stopped the woman in Zhuhai, China, according to The Drinks Business. The alleged smuggler, identified by officials as Qin, was “walking awkwardly” while attempting to enter the Guangdong province. She was searched by border officials, who discovered she had taped 14 baijiu bottles to her legs, hidden beneath her dress. The China customs official WeChat social media account shared that the bottles contained Kweichow Moutai baijiu, a premium spirit that retails for nearly $800 per 375-milliliter bottle online. The 14 bottles weighed some 10 kilograms (just over 22 pounds), with individual bottles clocking in at least 700 grams (1.5 pounds).
Baijiu is a clear spirit that can be heavily aged, ranging in strength from 30–60 percent ABV. It’s created from a base grain such as sorghum, rice, millet, or wheat, and is often sipped at room temperature or served with food. The Moutai expression is said to be “the most popular spirit in China,” per the retailer, and is often presented as a gift to foreign heads of state and other distinguished guests of the nation. The liquor — with more than 5,000 years of history in Chinese culture — is produced in a variety of formats, styles, and special editions.
The Drinks Business also reports that Zhuhai is known for its illicit baijiu economy; border customs agents uncovered a wide-reaching smuggling ring in the area in May 2022.