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New Delhi, Aug 7: A unique Reader's Digest survey to find out how honest people are in the world's 32 most populous cities saw Mumbai finishing fifth along with Manila and New York.

In each city, reporters from Reader's Digest left 30 mid-priced mobile phones in public places and then watched how people reacted. In Mumbai, home to a very large number of poor, finders returned 24 of the 30 telephones.

Slovenia's capital Ljubljana topped the list of 30 cities, returning 29 of the 30 "lost" telephones. Toronto came at the second spot with 28 telephones, followed by Seoul (27) and Stockholm (26).

The telephone recovery in some of the wealthiest cities was poor.

Auckland saw only 23 phones returning to the Reader's Digest team, Paris and Berlin just 21 each, Zurich 20, Sydney and London 19 each, Madrid 18, Singapore just 16 and Amsterdam 14. Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur finished at the bottom with 13 telephones each.

Reader's Digest said that Mumbai may have come last in its politeness survey last year, but its citizens "proved to be amazingly honest".

The magazine said in its latest issue that all the seven women who found Reader's Digest phones returned them.

According to the magazine, after two 15-year-old schoolgirls, Vidhi Goradia and her friend, found a phone on the cemented seaside seating at Marine Drive, "we watched as they got into a heated discussion before they returned the phone to us".

The friend was quoted as saying: "I don't own a mobile and my parents were just about to buy me one, so I thought how lucky I was to find this. But Vidhi told me to do the right thing and return it."

Added Vidhi: "Had I lost my mobile, I would have felt very bad. We had to return it."

"All over the world, the most common reason people gave for returning our phone was that they too had once lost an item of value and didn't want others to suffer as they had," the magazine said.

Other helpful citizens returned phones for the information contained within it, it added.

One man who returned the phone in Mumbai was Dharmendra Kumar, who had lost three of his mobiles. He even asked Reader's Digest reporters: "Just how can you be so careless?"

The magazine said that SIM cards were removed before long from all the six phones that were lost in Mumbai.

"Presumably, if their finders knew enough about cell phones to do that, they could, if they tried, have called us using the phone's directory."


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