SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese smugglers are suspected of dodging taxes to the tune of $1.3 million in the sale of thousands of imported pianos, with eight separate cases before Shanghai courts, a newspaper said Wednesday.
Police discovered a cache of nearly 5,000 unsold pianos, the China Daily said Wednesday. The smugglers are suspected of being instrumental in making tens of millions of yuan selling the contraband, giving the illegal ivory trade a whole new meaning.
“Customs officials said the smugglers had probably managed to dodge some 10 million yuan ($1.3 million) worth of taxes and seriously disrupted the piano market in Shanghai,” the paper said.
Shanghai piano dealers had noticed that second-hand pianos from abroad with low marked prices had been dominating the market “leading customs to suspect that the whole industry was in collusion with smugglers,” the paper said.
Investigators found smugglers had sold the pianos to local stores, forcing legitimate stores, unable to compete on price, to close, the paper said.
Eight separate cases of piano smuggling were being heard in Shanghai. All defendants in the first case, which opened on Tuesday, had pleaded guilty, the paper said.