THREE Chinese citizens yesterday escaped death narrowly when angry Isiolo residents descended on them for allegedly selling counterfeit mobile phones.
The residents who were led by motor bike riders blocked matatu plying the Isiolo-Meru route and ejected the three, two women and a man, and descended on them with blows and kicks before police rescued them. The locals claimed the Chinese had flooded the area with fake mobile phones which cost Sh60,000 in a normal market but were sold to them for Sh18,000.
The phones have powerful cameras but are not registered with any company. More than 20 people who had bought the phones turned up at Isiolo police station demanding for a refund of their money and prosecution of the suspects. Hassan Ali a victim said the three were tryng to clear the stocks from their companies in China before the Septemeber 30 deadline when fake mobile phones will be switched off.
Isiolo police chief Daniel Kamanza said they had recovered 54 mobile phones, 54 chargers and Sh6,500 from the suspects. He said the Chinese nationals arrived in Kenya separately in June 20, 28 and 26 as tourists and not businessmen. Kamanza said the suspects will be taken to Meru to ascertain their motives and whether the phones are original with the help of the Kenya Bureau of Standards.