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  • Oct 2, 2014
  • Updated: 7:11am
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'Fake' iPhone charger cited in electrocution death probe

New details reveal victim may have been using an unauthorised charger for her iPhone 4

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 11:34am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 July, 2013, 8:48am
 

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A woman killed by an electric shock while using her iPhone may have been using a non-Apple-made battery charger at the time of her death, Chinese state media reported.

The victim, 23-year-old Ma Ailun, had been using what appeared to be an unauthorised iPhone 4 charger, CCTV reported on Tuesday. According to Xiang Ligang, a telecommunications expert interviewed by CCTV, the charger Ma had been using may have been a "knockoff"' - a fake. 

“Knockoff chargers sometimes cut corners,” Xiang said. “The quality of the capacitor and circuit protector may not be good, and this may lead to the capacitor breaking down and sending 220 volts of electricity directly into the cell phone battery.”

Ma, a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, had been charging her iPhone 4 on July 11 in her home in Xinjiang. She had been electrocuted after picking it up to answer a call. Earlier reports had said she had been using an iPhone 5 at the time, but CCTV investigations confirmed that the exterior of the device was a stainless steel iPhone 4 - not the aluminum iPhone 5.

Another possibility was the charger had been intended for use in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan, Xiang said.

“Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan all use an electrical voltage of 110 volts,” Xiang said. “Mainland China uses 220 volts. If the charger was made to accommodate only 110 volts, then it’s possible it may have broken down and [overloaded.]”

Xiang's comments are not entirely accurate - Hong Kong has a standard electrical voltage of 220, although 120 voltage outlets are found in some hotels. Japan has a standard voltage of 100 volts. 

Xiang said that normally, the electric current from an overloaded charger would overheat the phone’s casing, damaging the circuits inside and rendering the device unusable. In the case of Ma’s iPhone 4, however, authorities said the phone could still be started normally despite severe traces of burning on its exterior. The phone’s data cable, charger, and plug were all intact.

A police investigation is underway. A spokeswoman for Apple said the company was “deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and…will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter”.

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This article is now closed to comments

chaz_hen
It's headline news if you're the Chinese media trying to discredit, yet again, a foreign company or product at the behest of your master, the CCP.
charlie212
Hong Kong uses an electrical voltage of 110 volts ? This was allowed into the paper by an scmp editor ? do they not proof read these stuff ? Since when are we using 110 volts in hong kong ? pathetic editing as usual. ITS 220 VOLTS IN HONG KONG !!!!!!!!
Camel
they corrected already the quote in the end of the article. You should finish reading before you comment.
maecheung
SCMP just report the quote by the so called expert, and did not and should not do any editing at all.
lucifer
I think it was clear to most people when this story broke that there was another problem in play. I thought shoddy home electrical system or charger. Of course the Mainland media ran with the story because they want to pin something ona foriegn company, but like usual, it backfired and only serves to demonstrate how the lack of quality, enforcement of regulations protecting consumers and rapant fake and substandard products have plagued China.
The exper'ts ignorance just shows how little exposure to the outside word people have in the Mainland. The depth of their knowledge about anything the CCP has not stuffed their heads full of its frightening.
francisliang
SCMP Where do you source these so called "experts"? He can't even get something as simple as voltage right.....
maecheung
Don't blame SCMP which is just quoting the news from CCTV. Why do you folks jump on SCMP?
francisliang
It's difficult to trust the media if the quality of the fact checking is questionable, when blatant factual errors are published it takes away the trust we have in our media and degrades the quality of the news source. While it's not perfect just read the BBC version of this story ****www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23317338 which by the way is free unlike the SCMP.
ninacheung
A telecommunications expert that does not know (or bother to check) the standard electrical voltage in HK and Japan? Must be a mainland made expert with accompanying "qualifications"...
andihk
The standard electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The standard electrical voltage in Japan is 100 volts 50/60 Hz.

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