Three arrested in Hong Kong customs raid of counterfeit goods operation in Mong Kok's Ladies’ Market

Three people are arrested and 2,600 counterfeit products thought to be from mainland China are seized; operators mainly targeted foreigners

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 11:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 11:30pm

A fake-goods racket that mainly targeted foreigners in the city’s popular Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok was broken up following the arrest of three people, a customs official said on Thursday.

Customs officers closed down the operation’s fake-goods showroom, its storage centre and its hawker stall in Tung Choi Street, known as Ladies’ Market.

They seized HK$2.5 million of counterfeit brand-name products in a series of raids, according to Phoebe Wong Wai-chuen of the customs’ intellectual property investigation group.

She said the three suspects – two men and one woman aged between 22 and 37 – were believed to be the ringleader and members of the syndicate, which has been in operation for more than two months.

The seized fake products, suspected to have come from mainland China, included handbags, watches and leather goods bearing famous brand names, she said.

Customs officers launched their investigation after receiving a complaint about two months ago.

Initial investigations showed touts at the hawker stall approached mainly foreigners and sought business by using tablets to show them pictures of suspected counterfeit products, according to the department. Those who failed to make up their mind what to buy would be taken to its nearby upstairs showroom where fake goods were on display.

“The counterfeit products were sold for between HK$500 and HK$1,500 each,” Wong said. “It was about 1 per cent to 20 per cent of the genuine products’ price.”

She said the goods were of passable quality.

After a two-month investigation, customs officers swooped into action, arresting the three suspects and confiscating about 2,600 counterfeit products in a series of raids on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, the three suspects were still being held for questioning and none had been charged.

Wong said it was possible further arrests would be made.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, selling any goods with a forged trademark carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a HK$500,000 fine.

The department said they would continue to take stringent enforcement action against counterfeiting activities.

Anyone with information relating to the sale of suspected counterfeit goods may call the department’s 24-hour hotline on 2545 6182.

The seizure was made about three weeks after officers arrested eight people and confiscated more than 200 bogus pseudo-vintage timepieces in a series of raids on Sheung Wan antique businesses.