Counterfeit lanterns and toys seized by customs ahead of Mid-Autumn Festival
Fake goods were mixed with genuine ones to dupe shoppers into purchasing fakes at nine stores across Hong Kong
With the Mid-Autumn Festival looming, Hong Kong Customs has confiscated more than 1,400 falsely-branded lanterns, toys and items of stationery with a combined value of HK$48,000 in a city-wide operation against the sale of counterfeit goods.
Twelve Hongkongers aged from 31 to 67 were rounded up when about 100 customs officers were deployed to raid nine shops and hawker stalls on Tuesday. The five men and seven women were five salespeople and seven owners of the shops and stalls, according to the Customs and Excise Department.-
The retail outlets were in Central, Sheung Wan, Sham Shui Po, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai, according to Guy Fong Wing-kai, head of the Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations) Group.
He said the fake products, which were mainly printed with cartoon characters, were mixed with genuine goods to confuse customers in some of the shops.
“Genuine products were on display for customers to select in the shops. After confirming the transaction, buyers were given the fake items stored in the shelves,” he said.
Fong said the fakes were sold for between HK$20 and HK$60 each, compared to HK$60 and HK$100 for genuine goods. It is understood the wholesale price of the counterfeit products ranged from HK$10 to HK$20.
“We are still investigating the source of the fake goods. We don’t rule out the possibility that some of the products were made in the mainland,” he said.
The nine shops and stalls were identified when customs officers stepped up inspections across the city.
The 12 suspects have been released on bail pending further investigations.
Fong said customs would continue to take stringent enforcement actions to combat the sale of such goods in the city.
He said consumers should make purchases at shops with good reputations and “traders should also be cautious and prudent in merchandising”.
Under the Copyright Ordinance, those who sell or possess for sale infringing items will face a maximum penalty of four-years imprisonment and a HK$50,000 fine for each infringing copy.
Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, selling or possessing any goods with forged trademarks carries a maximum penalty of five-years in jail and a HK$500,000 fine.
Fong appealed to anyone with information about counterfeit goods to call the 24-hour customs hotline on 2545 6182.