Tangerang police seize over a thousand refurbished iPhones sent from Singapore

iPhone Xs and Xs Max. Photo: Apple
iPhone Xs and Xs Max. Photo: Apple

Police in Tangerang say they have uncovered an illegal cell phone refurbishment factory in the city belonging to a syndicate who have been selling previously damaged iPhones at a fraction of their retail price.

Police raided the factory, located in a shophouse, which had been operating for about a month. Two employees, identified by their initials R and WS, were arrested.

“Based on a tip from locals who were suspicious of their activity, we carried out an investigation and uncovered this illegal cell phone factory,” Tangerang Police Chief Ade Ary Syam told Liputan 6.

According to the police, the iPhones were sent to Tangerang from Singapore via Batam in states of disrepair. The phones were then refurbished and sold online through e-commerce platforms.

The factory was able to refurbish 50 to 100 units per day, comprising of older models like the iPhone 6s to the latest iPhone 11 models. 

Each phone was sold for around IDR4-8 million (US$284-568). For comparison, the official retail price of an iPhone 6s starts from IDR4.5 million, while the most expensive model available in Indonesia, the iPhone Xs, starts from IDR19.6 million.

“Their revenue was quite large, IDR150 million in a month. According to [the suspects], refurbished cellphones are quite in demand by people who want a luxurious lifestyle with smaller investments,” Ade said.

Police seized 1,697 iPhones during the raid. R and WS have been charged with consumer fraud and violation of trade laws. Both are looking at a minimum of five years in prison if convicted.

Are you sure your iPhone was new when you bought it? You can follow the steps here to check if it’s new or refurbished, though we imagine that illegal operations like this one in Tangerang have found ways to cheat the system.

Related: Government finally passes IMEI regulation to block ‘illegal’ cellphones in Indonesia, set to take effect in April 2020

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