Police in Shanghai raided an apartment and seized 1.1 million yuan (about US$174,892) worth of goods for refurbishing iPhones. Yes, according to Chinese media Eastday, the police found an entire assembly line that was run by a 53-year-old man who employed 14 young Chinese workers to produce and sell refurbished iPhones with fake parts.
In July last year, police seized an assembly workshop run by a Chinese man called Dong from Jiangsu, concealed in a rented apartment in Shanghai. Thousands of refurbished iPhones with Apple’s trademark logo had been seized, and according to the workers in the workshop, they were using fake components to refurbish the iPhones. The parts were believed to have been imported from Shenzhen and included rear panels, batteries, chargers and cables. And the packaging box was also a fake too.
Here’s the best part: their refurbishing process include the usage of chemical to clean the iPhone screens, and workers polish the iPhone back covers to make them shinny. The last step? The iPhones are then packaged in non-genuine boxes (apparently they have found a manufacturer to supply iPhone boxes to them) and ready for despatch.
The assembly workshop was started in October 2010, and the man — Dong — who run the workshop, employed 14 workers as young as 20 years old to help him. The workers all come from different provinces to look for a job in Shanghai. Some was hoping to learn to repair electrical goods, and some was hoping to earn some money. Dong promised them that they will get paid 1,500 – 2,000 yuan (about $238 -318) every month. But things get complicated after they agreed to work for Dong.
The workers later found out that it was illegal to possess counterfeit parts with intent to sell them. However, due to the lack of knowledge on the intellectual property regime and chances of landing a new job, they continued to work for Dong until the police discovered the workshop.
So, the workshop was busted, and 1.1 million yuan (about US$174,892) worth of goods were seized, including 532,000 yuan (about US$84,584) worth of refurbished iPhones and 2,000 pieces of counterfeit rear panels. The mastermind Dong was sentenced to 3 years in prison, 3 years probation, and a fine of 30,000 yuan (about US$4,769). For the workers, each of them was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 18 months of probation, and a fine of 3,000 – 5,000 yuan (about US$476 -794).
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