The customs officials at Lahore airport have arrested a passenger who was trying to smuggle expensive mobile phones from China. His luggage has also been detained.
According to the sources, a resident of Lahore, Naveed Bhatti, coming from Guangzhou, China by Flight 891 of Shaheen Air, was caught by the customs officials.
He was attempting to smuggle 170 expensive mobile phones by hiding them in the empty water bottles.
He told the customs officers that he was not coming from Guangzhou, China but Saudi Arabia, that is why he was keeping the bottles of Aab-e-Zamzam with him. But, after the scanning was performed on the bottles, it was revealed that a large number of mobile phones were skillfully kept in the bottles.
The customs officials have detained all the mobile phones and arrested the man. An FIR has also been registered against him.
Last year, A government official was arrested for smuggling mobile phones and liquor.
According to a report, Smuggled mobile phones are catering to almost 59% of the total market in Pakistan while causing a loss of $ 1.1 billion to the national exchequer regarding customs duties and other state taxes applicable.
Interestingly smuggled mobile phones topped the list showing an almost 50% contribution ($ 4.4 billion) to the total worth of 11 items which was noted as $ 9.1 billion.
Through an earlier report, More Magazine had warned the authorities that mobile phone smuggling was on the rise owing to unnecessary taxes on the industry. In the budget, the 2015-16 government imposed new taxes and concrete ways for contraband. The impact was observed in the succeeding months when legal mobile phone import was dropped by 30% as compared to the average monthly import of the preceding year.
According to industry analysts, “ The very loose control on smuggling, nonduty paid phones, and no check and balances to sell these phones without warranty to consumers has made smartphone sales hazardous for local distributors. The real solution lies with local authorities and their intent”.