Lebanon to get tough on illegal cellphone owners

Telecommunication minister reveals that 85% of mobile handsets enter country illegally

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  February 5, 2009

Lebanon’s government has announced tough new measures to deal with the thriving grey cellphone market in the country.

According to the Daily Star, telecommunication minister Jebran Bassil revealed that 85% of mobile phones enter the country illegally, which deprives the customs department of around $55 million annually.

Bassil announced that the Telecommunication Ministry plans to impose a monthly fine to owners of illegal handsets in an effort to stem the illegal trade, though the exact amount hasn't been disclosed.

The Ministry is also willing to offer any technical assistance needed for respective authorities to track handsets that unlawfully enter the country.

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