Olympics and Uefa sparked transshipment wave of fake sports goods from mainland into Hong Kong
The sports merchandise were part of a HK$26 million haul of counterfeit products seized by customs this year
Thousands of express parcels and transshipment cargo carrying fake brand-name goods worth HK$26 million had been confiscated in Hong Kong after being smuggled from the mainland in the first eight months of this year, customs said on Friday.
The 194,000 fake goods including leather products, watches, sports apparel and sports shoes were destined for the United States, Africa, Europe and Latin America, according to the Customs and Excise Department.
The seizure was part of a joint effort by Hong Kong and mainland customs authorities to combat cross-border activities that infringe upon intellectual property rights (IPR), the department said in a statement.
“Between January and August 2016, through intelligence exchange and risk indicator analysis, the two customs administrations conducted a series of joint operations to step up inspections on express parcels and transshipment cargo, thus effectively curbing transnational IPR infringing crimes,” it said.
Major international sporting events such as UEFA Euro 2016 and the Rio 2016 Olympics partly sparked the joint operations, according to a government source with knowledge of the investigation.
Counterfeit goods seized included Olympic souvenirs and Uefa sports T-shirts, according to the source.
Among the 194,000 fakes were some 3,000 suspectedly counterfeit sports apparel and shoes seized during the Uefa Euro 2016 period, and some 1,200 pieces of suspectedly fake sports merchandise confiscated when the Olympics were being held.
The source said the express parcels and transshipment cargo were intercepted at the river trade terminal in Tuen Mun, various cross-border immigration control points and the airport’s cargo terminal.
At the same time, to augment the effectiveness of fighting cross-border IPR infringing activities, Hong Kong customs and US and European law enforcement agencies conducted timely intelligence exchange and close monitoring of suspicious shipments, according to the department.
“Hong Kong customs will continue to collaborate closely with the mainland and overseas law enforcement agencies in suppressing cross-border IPR infringing activities,” it said.