Dhaka: In an effort to curb misuse of
cellphones by criminals, the Bangladesh government has barred
youngsters under-18 from buying mobile SIM cards.
Moreover, people above 18 years of age will have to
submit their national identity numbers to the authorities to
subscribe to mobile service.
"The mobile phone operators have been asked not to sell
SIM to people under 18 years of age. Each subscriber will now
will also need the national identity card and an introducer
for buying a SIM card from any mobile phone operator," a home
ministry spokesman said.
He added that restrictions have also been slapped on
getting authorised certificates for selling the cards and the
vendors must have secondary school certificates and must go
through police verification.
The restriction comes days after police said teenagers
appeared to be dominating Dhaka`s underworld, as they prepared
a list of 559 young gangsters, prompting authorities to launch
a campaign to uproot the gangs.
The directives were issued yesterday at a meeting with
the Home Affairs minister, Sahara Khatun, after a 10-member
committee formed for looking into curbing of cellphone crimes
submitted its reports.
"SIM cards are now so available that you will get one
even from a betel leaf seller. The extortionists and criminals
are using SIM cards which are not properly registered," Home
Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting was informed that a total of 12 lakh
unregistered SIM and RUIM cards have so far been blocked.
There had been an increase in extortion demands and
threats to high-profile people over cellphones. Prime minister
Sheikh Hasina and her nephew, ruling Awami League lawmaker
Fazle Noor Taposh had also recently received threats over
cellphones, the Daily Star reported.
Bangladesh`s total telephone users stood around 56
million at the end of January 2010 with six mobile phone
operators connecting 53.83 million customers and 13 landline
operators connecting 1.69 million customers.