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Malaysia arrests 12 over theft of 1,400 smartphones

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian police have arrested 12 people over the theft of 1,400 Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones a day after the device's much-anticipated launch in the country, a police official said Tuesday.

The smartphones, worth 3.23 million ringgit (US$1.07 million), were stolen on Oct. 20 from the cargo area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where they had arrived in a shipment.

Federal commercial crimes investigation chief Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said police had arrested 12 people in raids around the capital Kuala Lumpur, most of whom were believed to have planned the theft together.

He said only about 70 of the phones had been recovered and police were trying to track down the rest.

The New Straits Times reported that three of those facing charges were alleged buyers of stolen phones who paid less than the official retail price.

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