A teen girl in China, whose identity is yet to be released, was found dead in her home with burn marks all over her body on July 24, The China Times reports. Her cause of death was a simple action that most of us replicate each night. She fell asleep with her iPhone 4s charging next to her. When the victim’s sister came home that night, she could smell the body burning before finding the shocking truth.
Last year, 23-year-old Ma Ailun, a flight attendant for China Southern Airlines, died while using her iPhone 5 as it was charging. In that case, state media said the body showed clear signs of electrocution, but that smartphones regularly give off such charges described as “tiny voltage” by CNN news correspondent David McKenzie. The actual issue in both deaths was probably a faulty, counterfeit charger which Apple has warned against using on its Chinese website. The tech giant has offered to replace counterfeit chargers for China’s citizens at no cost.
China has long been growing into one of Apple’s most important markets, and is no longer just a place where the products are produced. I predict a major PR move will be directed at China’s major cities sometime soon. This young girl is no isolated incident. There was a case of a counterfeit charger being presented as the culprit when a 30-year-old man in Beijing fell into a coma after picking up his iPhone as it was charging.
While the speculation naturally falls on the 18-year-old having used a counterfeit charger, it has not yet been confirmed that this is true. Generic iPhone chargers aren’t the only products on the market that could potentially cause users harm. In China’s southwestern city of Kunming, 22 fake Apple stores were revealed and shut down in 2011. The chance to meet the growing demand for Apple’s products is apparently too much temptation for some of China’s citizens, and even some people who believe they are dealing with legitimate retailers may be buying a counterfeit, and potentially fatal product.