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I have 2 questions about the Yemeni story, one based on needing more information about what is culturally normal (and how technology imports are taxed) for Yemenis.

I have two questions about the Yemeni story:
  1. Is it normal for people flying to Yemen to tape a number of cellphones together? I could see the answer to this being possibly yes... For instance, some countries highly tax imported technological devices, and some people do 'light smuggling' to avoid paying the tax. So if the cellphones were hidden and taped somewhere inside the luggage, to avoid paying a tax, that could make sense. If so, it would not be unusual.. there should be other Yemenis who could talk about how it is an ordinary thing. Has any journalist asked other Yemenis?
  2. Why would someone pack a box-cutter? As someone who has done both international and domestic travel, I always attempt to pack as lightly as possible, thus avoiding having to drag around any unnecessary weight. So, why would that guy actually pack a box-cutter, which are available for cheap in undeveloped countries as well as developed ones (right?). Some high-tech and high-cost items aren't available in developing countries, but I really find it hard to explain why the guy would have packed a box cutter. Special knives could have a reasonable explanation (gifts or items for the home that have special aesthetic value), but a box-cutter just makes no sense. Especially when you could just use a regular knife to open a box, and they are available for cheap in the country.

Originally posted to foldingBicycle on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:29 AM PDT.

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