Counterfeiters jailed for faking luxury brand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am

Trio sent to prison for up to three years for manufacturing bogus goods in Guangzhou

A Guangzhou court has sentenced three Chongqing men to up to three years in jail for manufacturing thousands of fake Louis Vuitton purses valued at more than 10 million yuan.

In a judgment handed down on June 1, Guangzhou's Huadu District People's Court jailed He Lunyuo, Ren Denghua, and their assistant Yang Daobin for two to three years and fined them 2,000 to 3,000 yuan each.

A spokesman for the Guangzhou Quality Technical Supervision Bureau, Tian Nong, said the result was 'one of the most serious punishments in an intellectual property rights protection case in Guangzhou in the past three years'.

Officers from the bureau and Guangzhou police arrested He and his partners in September and seized 10,007 fake Louis Vuitton purses and 2,000 semi-finished products from several warehouses and a factory.

The purses had an estimated market value of more than 10 million yuan.

The manager of Louis Vuitton China's anti-counterfeit department, Tan Yanping , said the company was satisfied with the judgment.

'It is the first time we have successfully taken action against counterfeit producers in Huadu, which could be called the manufacturing centre of fake Louis Vuitton goods in China,' Ms Tan said.

She said the company hired a specialist company to trace the fake goods after finding them on the market.

'It took them three months to find the four warehouses and the factory, which were located in different districts.'

She said the company thought the judgment was reasonable and hoped the government could step up punishment of producers of fakes in the city.

'It will be useless if we only have administrative punishment but no criminal penalties.'

Among the thousands of factories making leather products in Huadu, she estimated that about half were involved in counterfeiting.

Ms Tan said police arrested a wholesaler in Shanghai last month and all of his 12,000 fake handbags were from Guangzhou.

She said the main market for the fake Louis Vuitton goods was overseas, not on the mainland. But there was a demand among overseas visitors to the mainland for the products.

Shanghai police arrested a tour guide and three shop owners last year for selling fake bags to overseas tourists. The shop owners were sentenced to two to three years in jail and fined between 200,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan.

'It seems that some foreigners, the Americans, the Australians, the Japanese, or the people from Southeast Asia, no matter where they are from, are happy to buy fake goods when they are travelling in China,' Ms Tan said.

Net losses

Louis Vuitton owner LVMH last year sued auction website eBay in France for carrying fakes

The proportion of Louis Vuitton bags offered for sale on eBay in the first half of last year that LVMH alleges were fake 90%