Authorities to take action against illegal ICT devices
Authorities are set to take action to address illegal and unsafe information and communication technology (ICT) devices after learning that substandard products have been imported illegally, creating safety concerns.
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Dr Thansamay Kommasith recently issued a Ministerial Decision warning traders to comply with the relevant laws and regulations when importing such devices to ensure safety.
A number of copied ICT devices have been imported illegally and used in Laos including mobile phones and tablets, which pose a hazard to users, Director General of the ministry's Technology and Information Department Dr Thavisak Manotham said.
“There have been cases in which mobile phones exploded, injuring users in the provinces,” he told Vientiane Times on Friday.
Non-standard mobiles with a signal stronger than acceptable safety standards could also be harmful to the brain, he added.
“An authorised dealer in Laos claims that mobiles copied from their brand are on sale. They asked our ministry to help investigate and address the issue,” the director said.
The ministry plans to carry out inspections and ensure that imported devices carry stickers that indicate they have been imported legally, undergone checks and are certified as safe, just as is done in many other countries, he added.
In addition, satellite dishes and receivers imported illegally have flooded markets, Mr Thansamay told local media recently.
He admitted that the relevant sectors including his ministry, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce needed to work together to regulate this issue. The Ministerial Decision warns importers that they must obtain permission to import products and lists of ICT devices to be imported must be approved by the ministry and other relevant sectors. This process would ease the inspection and management of ICT devices and businesses.
The decision spells out fines for rule-breakers. They can be fined up to 30 million kip for importing, possessing or selling prohibited ICT devices without permission and the devices will be impounded.
A list of prohibited ICT devices is detailed in a separate regulation. Importers of these devices must get permission from the government, while normal ICT devices require authorisation by the posts and telecommunications sector.
Those operating ICT device import or sale businesses without permission will be fined 20 million kip and all of their products seized until the permission process is complete.
The import of ICT devices without permission will incur a fine of 10 million kip and the products will be impounded. The sale of ICT devices that have not been given import approval will also incur a fine of 10 million kip.
The lowest fine is set at 500,000 kip for businesses that continue to operate beyond the specified time.
By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update February 6, 2017)