'Beijing Olympic Gift' still up for sale on popular website

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am

An Olympic torch made of cloth and cotton was still being offered for sale on an auction and shopping website after customs officers nabbed a woman trying to sell bogus torches on the Net.

Hours after customs announced the arrest, an apparently bogus torch was still on offer for HK$120 on a popular auction site found on Yahoo's Hong Kong home page.

The seller called the item a 'Beijing Olympic Gift'. It is about 70cm long, made of cloth and printed with a cloud design, resembling a genuine torch. It does not claim to be genuine and the real torches, naturally, are not made of cloth. The item was one of the 87 Beijing Olympic souvenirs being sold by Hongkongers on the website, while eBay - another popular online sales site - had 715 Olympic items being sold by Hongkongers.

The most expensive item was a miniature Beijing Olympic torch, at 29cm long - for which the bidding had climbed to HK$5,953.40.

The seller said it was made from steel left over from the construction of the National Stadium - nicknamed the 'Bird's Nest' - and carried certification from the Beijing Notary Office. Customs officials have warned the public that a 200-strong team has been set up to prevent fake Olympic Games souvenirs from surfacing in Hong Kong.

All official Olympic souvenirs come with certificates of authentication issued by the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, and any sales of products bearing the Games' logo without authorisation is against the law.

The public can call the customs hotline on 25456182 to report forgeries.