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March 29, 2014

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Man ‘whitewashes’ stolen iPhones

A TECHNICIAN at an authorized Apple repair store was sentenced to four months in detention with a four-month  reprieve for “whitewashing” stolen iPhones and profiting from it.

He was also fined 2,000 yuan (US$321.96). Two others were also handed similar sentences.

The unnamed technician, 27, worked at an Apple service center outlet in Hangzhou in  Zhejiang Province.

The typical modus operandi involved “whitewashing” the iPhones, in which the “faulty” phones were replaced.

For any replacement of iPhones, an invoice and warranty card are necessary but the technician at the service center ignored the criteria.

The technician was involved in the illegal trade since May 2012. He whitewashed nearly 1,000 iPhones, many of which were robbed or stolen.

He “earned” 86,105 yuan (US$13,887) in a year, the Zhabei District Court heard.

Shanghai police became suspicious after they found several stolen or robbed iPhones in the city, all of which were linked to the same service center in Hangzhou.

All the iPhones were “supplied” by a second-hand mobile phone vendor in Shanghai.

The vendor approached the technician who would charge 60 yuan for iPhone 4 and 80 yuan for iPhone 5.

The vendor was sentenced to six months in detention with a six-month reprieve. He was also  fined 3,000 yuan.

A former colleague of the  technician who introduced him to the vendor was also sentenced to four months detention with  reprieve.

The colleague also profited from the business.

Users who lose their iPhones in Shanghai can provide their phone’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity to police, who share the information with service centers.

Once a stolen iPhone is sent to the centers, they will be alerted by its unique identification.

It was the city’s first court ruling involving “whitewashing” stolen iPhones.


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