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HomeCHINA'S STEALING SPYING AND OTHER CRIMINAL ACTINGChinese gangs threaten citizens abroad with killing if they do not deliver...

Chinese gangs threaten citizens abroad with killing if they do not deliver data of their stolen iPhones

Christopher Bramah-Calvert, a City worker, received threatening messages and a video featuring an armed man after he successfully tracked his stolen iPhone to China. The incident began when his phone was snatched by an e-bike rider near a gym in central London. Using the Find My app, the 38-year-old traced his iPhone 13 through London and was surprised to find it suddenly appearing in Shenzhen, southern China, a month later.

The street where his phone was located, Huafa South Road, has been a frequent destination for stolen UK phones, believed to be sent there by criminal groups for resale or parts. Shenzhen, known for its vast electronics market, offers an easier environment for unlocking and selling stolen iPhones, though this requires disconnection from the victims’ Apple accounts.

Initially, messages to Bramah-Calvert’s husband’s phone claimed the phone had been purchased and requested disconnection. However, the tone quickly turned threatening, culminating in the sending of a video showing an individual brandishing a firearm.

Instances similar to Bramah-Calvert’s have been reported, indicating a pattern where stolen phones end up in Shenzhen. Criminals often resort to intimidation tactics to unlock these devices, as they are largely unusable without the owner’s security information.

One of the messages, as reported by the newspaper The Independent, ominously stated, “I know who you are and where you live, and our whole family will get slaughtered.”

Discussions on Apple’s forums and Reddit also feature accounts from victims whose stolen phones ended up in Shenzhen. Some reported being asked for Apple ID and screen lock passwords.

Due to the stringent security measures of iPhones, stolen devices are typically unusable without the passcode or the owner’s Apple account credentials. Consequently, thieves may resort to violent or threatening messages in a bid to coerce victims into providing this information.

So again, Communist China at its best!

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