Where phones are sold for $6

KUALA LUMPUR: Handphones, cameras, electrical items, ornaments, antiques, automobile accessories and even the kitchen sink you'd probably find it all at the infamous Pasar Karat here.

Located along the back alleys between Petaling Street and Jalan Sultan, Pasar Karat or Rusty Market, which had been around for about 30 years, has peddlers offering a variety of products to customers from as early as 6am.

Most of the products, sold at very low prices, are snapped up almost immediately. About four hours later, peddlers will swiftly pack up their wares and disappear.

The reason for their cloak-and-dagger style of trading?

Some of the items sold are stolen goods. The rest are used, or second-hand items.

The day's items for sale are displayed on the floor and the markets are usually packed, with even some arriving in luxury cars.

Apparently, some people have bought 29in LCD television sets, the latest iPods, Nokia handphones and even iPads.

According to a trader, the market was started more than 30 over years ago by a family of thieves and is, today, allegedly operated by a syndicate that collects a fee from each vendor.

A customer in his 30s said he would make a trip to Pasar Karat just to see the items.

"The traders selling handphones here have a wide range of choices with prices starting from as low as RM15 to RM100 each, depending on the model and condition.

"Last week, I saw an iPad being sold for only RM350. I came a bit late, otherwise I would have been the proud owner of the gadget," he said when met near the market here last Wednesday.

When asked if he was aware that the items might have been stolen, the man said he did not bother to ask, as what was most important was that the items were cheap.

"Most of us know the items are stolen. However, it is irresistible as they are so cheap. We can even get Sony Playstation 3, laptops and even air-conditioners, here."

The man said people must be careful here as the traders have "guardians" who will "take care" of "troublemakers".

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said it was not true that the police have not done anything.

"From Jan 22 to April 22, 11 raids were conducted. Drug addicts, DVD pirates and several people selling watches and handphones were detained. However, we cannot ascertain whether the items were stolen."