Lost iPad Taxed by Chinese Customs When Returned to Owner

By Cassie Ryan
Cassie Ryan
Cassie Ryan
January 1, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A Guangzhou woman whose iPad went missing in Europe, while her boyfriend was traveling there, had to pay Chinese customs 200 yuan ($33) to import it as a new product, after a kind Norwegian man mailed it back to her.

Ms. Liu received an email from the man in Norway, who had found her address on the device, and wanted to confirm she was the owner, before sending it back. He paid the postage costs himself, according to Sina News.
However, when the iPad arrived in China, Ms. Liu was issued a notice by her local post office, saying she had to pay customs 10 percent of the price of a new iPad as import tax.

Ms. Liu attempted to discuss the matter with the post office personnel, who referred her to the customs department. Staff at Guangzhou customs told her that she would only receive an exemption if she could provide proof of ownership, such as the bill of purchase.

Despite the tablet being scratched from previous use and full of her personal photos, Ms. Liu was forced to pay the tax to get it back.

Chinese bloggers criticized the customs department over the matter. A netizen on Weibo said: “The tax and customs departments [are similar], and will taste all passing products, even if it is a night cart.”

Another joked: “If customs is not wrong, then it must be the foreigner’s fault. He should take responsibility for the double charge …”
Research by Ariel Tian.

Cassie Ryan