• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:52am

SAR pair indicted in US over fake Viagra

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 12:00am

Two Hong Kong residents and their company on Lantau have been indicted in the United States on charges of selling a fake version of the anti-impotence drug Viagra over the Internet.


Janet Ye and Raymond Chan were among seven people charged after a 17-month undercover operation.


Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said the investigation revealed defendants on the mainland and in India made the pills, while the SAR couple, together with others in the US, sold them to distributors.


The couple and an unnamed mainlander in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, are wanted by police in Hong Kong, China and the US.


Among the four others indicted was Lee Winhway, the general manager of Tianjin Shuaike Chemical Co, a manufacturer and exporter of pharmaceutical products in Tianjin on the mainland.


His company, which was also indicted, was allegedly the main supplier of the counterfeit Viagra sold by Ye and Chan of H. K. Dorilia Holdings Ltd.


The charges include trademark counterfeiting, criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions, possession of various forged instruments, forgery and conspiracy. If convicted on the main count of trademark counterfeiting, they face up to 15 years in prison.


Undercover agents, through e-mail and telephone contacts, bought more than 25,000 pills for US$38,000 (HK$296,400), Mr Morgenthau said. Most of the pills were shipped inside speakers or teddy bears, he added.


The suppliers told the undercover agents they could import more than 2.5 million tablets on a regular monthly basis.


The probe began in January last year after Pfizer Corporation, which makes Viagra and holds the trademark and patent on sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient, filed a complaint with the District Attorney's Office.


Mr Morgenthau said the cost of the fake pills ranged from 50 US cents each to more than US$6 per pill, depending on the involvement of intermediaries.


Hong Kong police estimate that up to 60 per cent of the Viagra pills circulating in the territory are fake.


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