'Hidden risk' posed by street sales of mobile phone cards

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 July, 1999, 12:00am

Mobile phone users who buy cheap Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards on the street could be setting themselves up for a criminal investigation or a hefty bill for calls, the Consumer Council warned.

Dr Michael Tsui said there was a hidden risk in buying cards for as little as $18 for 100 minutes of time a month. He said people were buying phones from reputable shops, but then selling the handsets on the mainland for a hefty profit, and selling the SIM card, which allows calls to be made, on the streets of Kowloon.

While the practice is legal, Dr Tsui said it exposed buyers to the risk of being linked to a crime because by signing for the SIM card they took legal responsibility for the handset.

If the 'real' owners used the handset to commit illegal dealings, the police may investigate the registered owners.

'It's a fairly new practice, but we see problems,' Dr Tsui said.

There were doubts about whether street vendors would keep customers' personal details confidential.