Fake digital-TV receivers seized

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2008, 12:00am

Customs officers will step up border inspections and street patrols in an effort to prevent the sale of counterfeit digital-television set-top boxes following the seizure of fakes.

Twenty customs officers seized 54 fakes, bearing the local brand name Eight, from a shop and two stalls in Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, on Monday. The haul, with a street value of about HK$70,000, is suspected to have been smuggled from the mainland, and the receivers sold to the traders for about HK$600 each.

The fakes can receive digital high-definition television signals but the image produced is neither clear nor sharp, the customs department says.

Lui Tze-cheuk, the head of its trade descriptions investigation division, believes those offering the fake receivers to traders were trying to cash in on high demand for them during the Olympic Games.

The fakes were being sold for HK$1,250 to HK$1,350. The price of a genuine Eight receiver is HK$1,670.

Officers arrested three men and a woman. They have been released on bail pending further investigation.

Mr Lui said it was easy to distinguish the fakes since they have a silver-coloured casing and the real ones a black one. Plus 'there is the Ofta label and manufacturer's bar code on the case [of the genuine product] and a warranty certificate is provided, which the fake does not have'. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority has certified receivers which meet its technical standards.

Mr Lui warned that the counterfeit receivers could be a fire risk since there was no guarantee their safety had been checked.

The Customs and Excise Department began investigating the case after receiving a complaint from the trademark owner late last month.

It is still trying to trace the supplier and the source of the counterfeit products.

A spokesman of Fung Yuk Trading, agent for Eight's set-top boxes, said the counterfeits had appeared in shops about two weeks ago after stocks of the genuine product ran out.

He said set-top boxes were in demand and advised the public to buy them at specialist electrical appliance chains.