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20 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Fake, smuggled cell phones

Traders demo during raid at city market

Staff Reporter

Customs officials faced demonstration by traders when conducting a raid to seize illegal mobile phones, at Bashundhara Shopping Mall in the capital yesterday. Traders started protesting in the afternoon when some mobile sets were seized from their shops. They also blocked the customs officials and the road in front of the shopping mall. Although they left the road, they did not leave the officials who conducted the operations and also the Additional Director General of Customs, Kazi Ziauddin.

Later, customs officials held a meeting with leaders of the Bashundhara city traders associations. After the meeting with the traders, Kazi Ziauddin said that 64 iPhones were under their possession, and the owner association representatives have been taken to the office.

The seized mobile phones should be returned after verification of the necessary import documents.  

Earlier, the customs officials raided Bashundhara Shopping Mall at around 12pm to seize the illegal mobile sets.  RAB tried to control over the situation when the traders prevented the operation.

At around 1pm, traders gathered on the road from Panthapath in front of the shopping centre to Karwar Bazar. They said nearly

100 iPhones were seized on grounds of tax evasion. The market value of the seized phones is around Tk. 90 lakh. The traders left the road at around 3pm.

The customs officials wanted to leave the market, but the traders blocked their path at the back gate of the market.

Traders claimed that without any notice, the customs officials took away the mobile phones and also millions of taka. They conducted the raid without informing the local police. For this, the traders prevented them from leaving.

A protesting businessman said, before every Eid, customs officials come to harass traders. They take mobile phones and do not return them.  Kazi Ziauddin said: “The raid was conducted according to rules. We told traders that if they showed necessary papers, seized mobiles would be returned.”

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) conducted raids at the Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, Uttara, Gulshan and Mohakhali yesterday to seize smuggled phones.

The Additional Director General of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, Deputy Director, Assistant Director, Revenue Officer, Assistant Revenue Officer, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and Ansar members assisted in the operation.

In all, 262 phones were seized from various shops/showrooms. These include iPhone-121, HTC-125, LG-15, Apple watch-01. The market value is estimated at Tk. 2,09,00,000. These phones had been smuggled.

The traders could not show necessary papers, said Kazi Ziauddin.

The CIID also busted a fake iPhone making factory in a raid in the Mohakhali area of Dhaka. They seized 36 fake iPhones and iPhone parts from a factory, TJ Electronic Limited, in No. 365 house on No. 27 road of Mohakhali DOHS.

According to customs intelligence, customers are being cheated with these fake iPhones. On the other hand, the government is also being deprived of a huge amount of revenue.

According to the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers’ Association (BMPIA), mobile handset imports through legal channels for the first time crossed 3 crore pieces in 2016, an 11 per cent jump from 2015, with the total value coming to about Tk. 8,000 crore.

Smartphone imports accounted for Tk. 6,500 crore. Smartphone imports increased by 46 per cent in 2016—82 lakh pieces from 56.27 lakh pieces in the previous year.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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