By Eddie Ssejjoba
POLICE in Kampala have arrested a Chinese businessman and impounded 1,443 cell phones from his shop worth over sh 50m for allegedly selling them using false trademarks.
Liu Linhui who operates Mukie International, an electronics shop on Galilaya Shopping Arcade along William Street in Kampala was arrested during a police operation to net traders dealing in counterfeit goods and using false trademarks.
The Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman, Patrick Onyago who on Friday paraded the suspect at the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (CIID) headquarters at Kibuli said the police operation would continue to crack down on many other traders dealing in counterfeits.
He explained that the operation followed complaints from Nokia, a phone company that wrote to the police indicating that many traders in Kampala were using their trademark to sell products not manufactured by them.
According to Onyango, traders import phones from manufacturers without labels and later insert Nokia stickers on them, which he said would be difficult for an ordinary customer who follows particular brands to detect that the item bought is not genuine.
But when checked, the phones have different models, names and brands that may not be easily detected on first sight.
He said the police had impounded exhibits of cell phones without exterior labels that are altered and sold using Nokia trademarks.
During a search of the shop, the police also recovered separate stickers belonging to Nokia and other brands including Samsung and HTC, which are pasted on the imported phones and sold.
Preliminary investigations also indicated that the traders evade paying taxes by declaring different phone models at the customs, which they alter later to target the big market in Kampala.
Onyango said many other brands have been used by the traders depending on which brand is attracting high demand.
He said the operation would continue and they hoped to net several others.
Liu will be charged with selling goods with false trademarks under the Uganda Trademarks 2010 Act.
Sources at the CIID however indicated that Lin had escaped from Kibuli when he was arrested on Wednesday and disappeared. He was only rearrested when he allegedly presented himself again.
It is alleged that Liu slipped away while cops scrutinized the phones, but was netted after a hunt was mounted.
Liu possessed a work permit indicating that he was born in 1992 in the Chinese city of Zhejiang.
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