Vietnamese prosecutors have filed charges against a Chinese national for bringing nearly 25,000 iPhone copycats illegally into the country, worth nearly VND45 billion (US$2.1 million) in total.
Wang Ao Feng, 41, has been charged with “smuggling”, which is punishable by death if the value of goods exceeds VND1 billion.
Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, 31, who abetted Wang in the scheme faces a less serious charge that carries a possible jail term of 10 years, prosecutors announced on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Wang imported 24,974 HiPhones, an infamous knockoff of Apple's iPhone, from China between May 2011 and April 2013. The imports were not declared with local customs, and the phones were not documented.
Ngoc, who represented one of the companies that sold the phones to Wang, allegedly helped Wang buy 4,300 HiPhones in March 2013 and sent them to Hanoi for him.
Prosecutors said the Chinese national also hired some Vietnamese to sign contracts with local TV channels to advertise the smuggled devices.
Some local post offices were also contracted to ship them to buyers by post.
The case was busted in April 2013, when police discovered nearly 5,000 undocumented HiPhones on a post office mini truck in Hanoi, news website Cong An Nhan Dan (People’s Police) reported.
Wang entered Vietnam as a tourist in 2011.