Ever heard of the term ‘London-used’ phones in Nigeria? Well, reports say they are phones snatched by acid-wielding hoodlums from unsuspecting pedestrians in the UK, and shipped down to Nigeria.
“UK-used” iPhones [are] being sold for £560 in stores and markets in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos,” according to an investigation by The Sun.
“Business is booming for the Nigerian racketeers because of soaring demand from the oil-rich middle classes in a country where hi-tech gadgets are relatively scarce.
“And because Nigeria has not signed up to a global deal blacklisting stolen phones, British moped gangs are able to keep the crime bosses supplied by exporting tens of thousands of snatched mobiles.”
In 2016, there were 60,000 cases of mobile thefts and robberies in London alone. In the whole of UK, reported cases were as high as 446,000, almost two-thirds of the cases involved iPhones.
Similarly, the London Metropolitan Police recorded 16,158 phone crimes-related incidents, “more than three times those reported in the year to June 2016”, according to the report.
HOW THE GANGS OPERATE
The moped thugs travel in packs of two, usually on motor bikes. The rider rides close to the pedestrian, close enough to enable the passenger grab the victim’s phone as they ride past.
They are usually armed with corrosive chemicals and knives as a backup plan should the victim prove stubborn.
“Three weeks ago raider Derryck John was jailed for 10.5 years for hurling acid in the face of six people in London, the Sun reports.
“He is one of an increasingly violent breed of young criminals hunting in packs armed with corrosive chemicals and knives.
“They travel two to a moped so the passenger can grab valuables as they pass a victim. The phones they grab are first plundered of data which is used to try to hack bank accounts.”
According to the report, many of the stolen iPhones stolen from the UK end up in the popular computer village in Lagos, Nigeria.
“We found iPhones at sale for £560 — £310 cheaper than the authorised Apple dealer’s price. Another store in Computer Village offered an iPhone 6 for £230,” investigators said.
“Nigeria’s lack of phone network regulation makes it an easy target for crooks.
“Countries across Europe, the US and South America have signed a deal to effectively blacklist stolen devices. It gives each phone a unique number which is added to a global database when it is reported stolen — making it useless in those nations who are part of the agreement.
“But Nigeria is yet to sign up. And a mobile industry source said: “By staying off the blacklist they are creating the market for stolen mobile phones. If all nations stood together, a mobile would be useless once reported stolen. But countries like Nigeria are effectively inviting illicit imports.”
A Nigerian police spokesman told The Sun that he was unaware that phones stolen from UK were being sold in Nigerian markets, adding that “If there is a complaint about a stolen phone in Lagos we shall investigate it”.