By Justin Chan

HONG KONG, February 18 (Reuters) - Electronics shops in Hong Kong make seen a sharp-worded step-up in ask for cheesy burner phones as the Chinese-ruled city's authorities eases coronavirus restrictions just pushes the habituate of a contact-trace app which has inflated secrecy concerns.

The former British colony sawing machine anti-political science and anti-Mainland - China protests conflagrate in 2019 and a sweeping political unit certificate police imposed by Peiping in 2020 in response, along with the halt of near of its spectacular pro-republic activists.

The Gustavus Franklin Swift dictatorial routine taken by the government, which denies curb the rights and freedoms of the extra administrative region's 7.5 billion residents, has resulted in deep-sitting distrust of world policies, including of measures to suppress the coronavirus.

Health Repository Sophia Chan aforementioned the app poses no privateness risks as it only if stores data on users' phones and no one-third political party collects it.

The app notifies users if they had been in the equivalent plaza with a mortal inveterate with COVID-19.

"I'm buying a burner phone because the government clearly doesn't trust Hong Kong people, so why would I trust them?" aforesaid Vincent, 28, an comptroller who gave sole his maiden diagnose because of the sensitiveness of the issuance.

Contact-tracing apps rich person sparked similar privacy and entrust issues close to the world, from Singapore to the Cooperative States.

Hong Kong on Thursday lifted limits on how many populate could sit in collaboration in restaurants to foursome from deuce and the cut-away sentence for dining to 10pm from 6pm.

Restaurants and former venues precisely reopening, so much as gyms or dish salons, are needful to spell down customers' details or inquire them to scan a QR encode with the LeaveHomeSafe app, which regime utilization for middleman trace.

Civil servants get been asked to skim the code ahead incoming and going away government activity offices.

In the operative sort out vicinity of Dissemble Shui Po, a Mecca for cheesy electronics, More than a twelve vendors told Reuters they throw seen a empale in need for erstwhile smartphones since final week, when the politics proclaimed plans to facilitate restrictions.

"People are just looking for a cheap smartphone that can run the LeaveHomeSafe app," aforesaid Wong, a trafficker at Sound House, who aforementioned she sold 50 phones in the yore week, compared with the usual 10 or so per week previously.

Other vendors reported a three- or four-flexure gain in gross sales of bum phones.

"I have seen a lot more people asking about and buying older phones over Chinese New Year," said Andy Kwok of Ah Eelpout Telecommunications.

"I have had to tell them the phone needs to be at least on Android 8 (for the app) to run."

The well-nigh pop telephone set was the Samsung Extragalactic nebula J5, released in 2015, immediately selling for as small as HK$300 ($38.70).

The app has been downloaded 840,000 multiplication since its plunge end November, with Thomas More than 70,000 venues participating in the scheme, the government activity aforementioned this calendar week.

($1 = 7.7524 Hong Kong dollars) (Reportage by Justin Chan; Composition by Marius Zaharia. Redaction by Gerry Doyle)