A 39-year-old woman suffered severe burns to her thigh after her fake Nokia cell phone exploded while she was driving her motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City.
“It was August 29 when I put the phone in my pants’ pocket and started driving down Nguyen Anh Thu Street”, said Diep Tu Anh, the owner of a restaurant in the city’s District 12. "Suddenly, I heard a loud explosion."
“It was very loud; I thought a motorbike tire had blown out," she said. "Seconds later, I started feeling an intense pain in my leg and my pants had caught fire.”
Anh managed to pull over and quickly get the phone out of her pocket. Passers-by helped put out the flames and took her to the District 12 General Hospital.
Anh later found out that the battery in her cell phone had exploded. She still keeps the red phone labeled “NOKIA k60” on the front and “Kechaoda – Model K60 – Made in China” on an interior sticker.
A Nokia Vietnam representative said Nokia does not manufacture a K60 phone.
“It’s a fake Chinese product being sold on the market,” the representative said.
Anh said she learned about the phone through some guests at her restaurant and asked them to buy her one for VND600,000 (US$28.2) around five months ago.
She said she only had to charge the phone, which contains an FM radio and MP3 player, once a month.
“I was somehow lucky because it exploded on my thigh. I don’t know what would have happened to me if it had exploded on my face or eye while talking.”
“Many people warned me about using a Chinese phone but I ignored them. I only believed them after being injured in the explosion,” she said.
Thien, the owner of a mobile phone shop in HCMC, said he'd heard about a number of similar cell phone explosions.
“All of those cases were Chinese phones made from cheap materials that quickly degrade, causing short circuits and explosions,” he said.
“The phones use high-capacity batteries encased in low-quality materials that can easily lead to swelling and technical errors which, in turn, cause explosions."