Update: Man arrested in East China, suspected of stealing and replacing iPhone with yogurt
Published: Feb 26, 2021 10:58 PM
Liu only received a box of yogurt after buying an iPhone online. (photo: screenshot of We Video)

Liu only received a box of yogurt after buying an iPhone online. (photo: screenshot of We Video)

Police officers arrested a 31-year-old criminal suspect surnamed Long at a rented apartment in Anhui on Sunday night. Long confessed that he took advantages of transporting cargo between Anhui and Shanghai from February 6 to 18. While working the temporary job, Long opened the parcel that was shipped to recipient Liu, stole the iPhone handset inside and replaced it with a box of yogurt.
The investigation surrounding the parcel exchange is still underway.

A woman in East China’s Anhui Province drew wide attention on Fri after saying she had received a package with only a box of yogurt inside after buying an iPhone online.

In a video spread on Weibo on Friday, the woman surnamed Liu said she spent 10,099 yuan ($1,563) to buy an iPhone 12 Pro Max (256G) on Apple’s official website on February 16, only to receive a package with a box of apple-flavored yogurt inside two days later.

Liu said she didn’t directly get the package from the courier. “The courier said he put the package in a parcel locker in my residential community, and I didn’t [complain],” she said in the video.

Local police said on Thursday that Liu’s case appeared to be one of theft. Earlier, both Apple and Express Mail Service (EMS) – a courier company under China Post that delivered Liu’s package – told Liu that they are launching an investigation.

An EMS customer service staffer told the Global Times on Friday that the incident is still under investigation. “We have appointed colleagues to specially deal with it,” she said. Apple gave a similar response, saying the investigation is still ongoing.

Liu’s experience sparked heated discussion on Chinese social media on Friday, with many Weibo users guessing at the possible wrongdoers behind the case.

“I think it might be courier company employees who replaced the iPhone,” wrote a Weibo user. He added that he had a similar experience days earlier – he received an empty shoe box after buying a pair of limited-edition shoes on Nike’s official shopping site.

Some users guessed that Liu bought her iPhone from a fake site instead of Apple’s official one. “There are many copycat shopping sites,” one user wrote.

Legal expert Zhang Bo didn’t rule out this possibly, saying that it may turn into an organized fraud case if Liu spent the money on a scam website that is disguised as Apple’s “official” site.

Other possibilities include a mistake with the packaging or the possibility that someone stealthily substituted the iPhone during the delivery process, Zhang said.

“If it was the Apple staffers mistakenly sending a wrong item, Liu can ask Apple to compensate her and give her a new iPhone,” Zhang told the Global Times on Friday. “If it was someone intentionally taking the iPhone away during the delivery, the person responsible would face punishment.”

Zhang also suggested online shoppers like Liu should be more cautious and protect themselves from possible financial losses. “Double check whether it is a legal and formal website before paying, and open the package when the courier is there,” he said. “Call the police as soon as possible if there’s something wrong.”