Customs seizes 1,800 smuggled cell phones

LAHORE: The customs officials has seized some 1800 smuggled cell phones which were likely to be used for cloning of their International Electronic Equipment Identity (IEMI) numbers to avoid registration with the PTA and make hefty profits by charging on-price in the local market.

According to the highly-placed sources, the anti-smuggling squads of Faisalabad and Lahore offices have seized consignments of 900 cell phones each a week earlier at their respective airports.

While confirming the development, Collector Enforcement Lahore Basit Maqsood Abbasi told this scribe that the matter has been shared with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to ascertain the possible cloning of these cell phones as a major chunk of the seized consignments consisted of used cell phones.

The teams are also probing whether any tampering is possible with the smart phones or not, he said, and made it clear that no such case has earlier been unearthed in Pakistan and the only possibility is that the IEMI numbers of used phones would be replaced with the branded ones, carrying an on-price of Rs 50,000 per piece in the market.

According to him, the investigations teams are also considering other leads, as another purpose of this whole exercise could be to save Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) tax against branded phones of leading international companies which are in the range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per piece. He said smuggling of cell phones has dropped drastically since the online payment of duties has been introduced by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). However, when he was pointed out that the department has recently seized a consignment of smuggled iPhone13. He admitted that the launch of any new model of iPhone triggers smuggling in the country due to its lucrative price.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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