Beijing couple caught running a massive counterfeit iPhone operation

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A married couple in Beijing was arrested after local authorities uncovered a massive counterfeit iPhone factory operation.


According to the Wall Street Journal, the couple ran six different assembly lines with the help of hundreds of workers, all while pretending that the entire outfit was a phone repair facility. At its height, the factory produced over 40,000 fake phones and accessories valued somewhere around $19 million. The phones, authorities say, were being prepared for export abroad to countries including the U.S.

According to the police report, the phones were constructed from a collection of different counterfeit parts obtained in Shenzhen, where the couple hailed from originally. Beijing police were first made aware of the factory back in May when an earlier shipment of the phones was confiscated in the U.S. and identified as fake Chinese imports.

The Chinese smartphone market is flooded with cheap iPhone knockoffs that typically look and feel like the real thing, but are actually running open-source versions of Android. While it's fairly common to see devices like these up for sale in mainland China, it's not often that a business is able to put out such a large volume of the phones abroad. In addition to the couple being arrested, seven others have been taken into custody for further questioning and are awaiting a trial.