Detectives attached to the Area F, Lagos State Police Command, have arrested two Chinese nationals, Lin Piehao, 22, and Li Ruoneng, 27, for allegedly buying stolen phones from pickpockets.
The two men were also accused of converting panels of stolen phones into e-waste at a factory at No 19, Sule Abuka Street, Opebi, Ikeja, before exporting them to China and Vietnam.
The police said that the clandestine factory had no signboard to indicate its line of operation, while many cartons of the e-waste already billed to be exported to China and Vietnam were allegedly recovered.
Eko Trust gathered that the men had been staying in Nigeria even after their visas had expired.
“We got a tip-off about their activities and we stormed there and arrested them. We also discovered that the two brains behind the company are staying in Nigeria illegally. They came to Lagos in May and were issued a month visa, but they exceeded their stay and have been working in Nigeria illegally,” a police source said.
One of the suspects, Piehao, said, “We buy phone (Android and Nokia) panels. We buy them from phone repairers and scrap sellers. We remove the panel I.C. with a machine and then ship it to China and Vietnam. We have some Nigerian casual workers in our factory but we give them the rules and urge them to be discreet before they start working.
“We actually came into Nigeria with one month visa to explore the country and study the business we can do, but our boss in China urged us to open the factory. We have been enjoying Nigeria and did not want to go back despite the expiration of our visa.
“I don’t have a work permit. I know it is a crime to work without a work permit, but the e-waste business is very lucrative.”