Customs reveals rise in complaints over shopping scams, fake goods

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 May, 2007, 12:00am

The customs department received more than 100 consumer complaints in April - a record for a single month - about fake goods and shopping scams, Customs Commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming said yesterday.

Mr Tong disclosed the figure on Commercial Radio yesterday, but said the cases dated from before a CCTV investigative report about fake goods in Hong Kong was broadcast early last month.

He said there had been no reports of organised shopping scams in the past three weeks. 'The complaints can be classified into two types - people who allege they were sold fake items and those who allege the goods were overpriced,' he said.

'Customs are required to look into complaints about fake goods. But for those complaining about the price, we are powerless to take action - except to discuss the case with the Consumer Council.'

Mr Tong said considerable manpower had been put into inspection work over the past month and there could only be a few scattered dishonest practices left.

'About 400 people have been deployed to inspect various shops, checking if fake items are being sold to tourists,' Mr Tong said. He said 100 officers were deployed in one operation alone. He added that customs were getting legal advice regarding a shop alleged to have sold fake watches.

The mainland victims of scams might be asked to come to Hong Kong to help with the investigation if necessary, he said.