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Lagos police arrest two Chinese over ‘illegal’ e-waste factory

Police in Lagos say they have arrested two Chinese, Lin Piehao, 22, and Li Ruoneng, 27, for allegedly operating an ‘illegal’ e-waste factory.

Lagos police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said the men were arrested late Monday for allegedly operating an illegal e-waste factory said to be emitting toxic waste in the community.

They were arrested at the factory located at 19 Sule Abuka Street, Opebi, Ikeja.

Police said the suspects’ visas had since expired, adding that they assemble the e-waste mainly from mobile phones, tablets, which they export to China and Vietnam through air cargo.

Mr Piehao said they buy panels from technicians and scrap sellers.

“We buy phone panels (Android and Nokia panels). We buy them from phone repairers and scrap sellers. We remove the panel I.C. with machine and then ship it to China and Vietnam,” he said.

“We have some Nigerian casual workers in our factory but we give them the rules and urge them to be discrete before they join us.

“We actually came into Nigeria with one month visa to explore the country and study to know the business we can do, but our boss in China urged us to open the factory and we have been enjoying Nigeria and did not want to go back despite the expiration of our visa.”

The Chinese added: “I do not have work permit. I know it is a crime to work without work permit, but the e-waste business is very lucrative. We do a lot to ensure that the smoke from the e-waste does not affect the environment where we operate.”

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