Cell phones: People being tricked into buying cheap replicas

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A gang of unscrupulous telephone vendors on Hall Road is fooling people into buying cheap imitations of expensive cell phones by showing them original products and selling at a third of the market price.

The market committee has accused the police of colluding with the gang. Police have rejected the allegations and have accused some shopkeepers of working in partnership with the gang.

Ramazan Javed, a Sheikupura resident, told that he was recently deceived by a man who identified himself as Ali into buying a cheap cell phone that looked like an expensive model. He said when the phone did not function and he went back to the market and confronted the vendor a police official intervened and took the two of them to a nearby shop to settle the dispute. He said the policeman made the vendor return half the money and made him promise that he would not report the incident to the Qila Gujjar Singh police.

Javed said Ali had first shown him a pricy cell phone and offered to sell it at one third of its market price. He said he believed that it was his chance to own an expensive phone and bought it. On reaching home, he said, he unwrapped the box and found a China-made replica of the cell phone Ali had shown him. “My brother told me such China-made copies of expensive cell phones were common in electronics markets in the city,” he said.

Anjuman Tajran Electronics Market general secretary Amin Mazhar Butt told that they had lodged several complaints with Qila Gujjar Singh police but no action had yet been taken against the gang. Recently, he said, some people were arrested by the police but were later released without registration of FIRs.

He said some shopkeepers too had caught people selling Chinese replicas of expensive cell phones as originals and handed them over to the police.

He alleged that an assistant sub inspector (ASI) was protecting the gang. He identified him as ASI Alam and said that he threatened shopkeepers with dire consequences if they reported the matter to the police.

SHO Rana Shahid said the ASI had already been transferred after they received complaints accusing him of collusion with the gang. He rejected the impression that the police were backing such a gang. He said he was personally monitoring the market and would soon launch a crackdown against people involved in such activities.

SHO Shahid said so far at least 20 such incidents had been reported. He said they had registered FIRs and started investigations. A clerk at the Qila Gujjar Singh police station, however, said no more than 10 cases were reported. Civil Lines SP Umer Saeed admitted that the crackdown had not been a success but blamed the failure on shopkeepers. He said some shopkeepers were partners in the business. He said police would take action against them once they had sufficient evidence.

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