New weapon joins war on auctioned fakes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 February, 2011, 12:00am

A new computer system introduced last month to stop the auction of fake goods online can do 24-hour searches for messages and save the evidence, the customs department said.

The Lineament Monitoring System II, developed with the University of Hong Kong, has been used to detect four cases involving the auction of counterfeit leather goods and jerseys.

Commissioner of Customs and Excise Raymond Yuen Ming-fai said the system replaced manual searches, making it more efficient.

Previously, officers had to manually search websites, and syndicates were elusive, posting messages at midnight and keeping the bidding open briefly, making it difficult to track.

The system does an automatic search of key words, brands and price range. Once a suspicious auction is found, a duty officer pretends to be a customer and makes a bid. The system also downloads auction information.

A total of 739 counterfeit auction cases were detected last year, down 27 per cent, and 667 people arrested.