Chinese authorities are continuing their year-long crackdown on fake food products by targeting producers of counterfeit Red Bull cans.
Police have detained 13 people across 10 provinces in China, China News Service said on Tuesday evening, in an effort to rein in the production and sale of large quantities of counterfeit versions of the popular energy drink.
They confiscated 3,820 boxes of cans, ingredients and packaging materials in eight locations over the last month in what appears to be nation-wide distribution network, police said.
Producing fake Red bull can be highly lucrative. Criminals involved in these operations made a 3.7 yuan profit on each fake can sold. Each one of their 12 illegal production lines was turning out 2,400 cans a day. Police have seized 25 million yuan worth of assets as part of their crackdown on these illegal products, the news wire report said.
One arrest occurred in Huizhou, Guangdong province, in late August, when a purported Red Bull sales agent toured shops offering the energy drink with a one to two yuan discount, the Dongjiang Times reported.
Counterfeit versions of the energy drink appeared in China as early as 2005, when police in Fujian seized 180,000 cans of fake Red Bull cans.
Bringing Red Bull into China in 1995 brought Thai entrepreneur Chanchai Ruayrungruang, also known as Yan Bin, considerable wealth. The Shandong-émigré ranked as China’s fourth richest person, according to last year's Hurun Report, which estimated his personal fortune at 50 billion yuan.