Hong Kong cosmetics chain Colourmix fined for possessing fake make-up remover

Seizure of 481 counterfeit bottles of skincare brand Bioderma revealed ‘lax quality assurance system’, court told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 7:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 7:00am

Cosmetics chain Colourmix was fined HK$160,000 for possessing counterfeit make-up remover from French-based skincare brand Bioderma at eight outlets across Hong Kong.

The batch of 481 bottles did not pose a health risk but revealed a “lax quality assurance system” in the 13-year-old chain, which has 96 stores in China sourcing more than 20,000 kinds of products from over 100 global suppliers.

Magistrate Amy Chan Wai-mun said on Monday: “Colourmix’s quality assurance system is seriously lacking, failing to achieve even the basic gate-keeping [responsibility].”

She found Colourmix Cosmetics Company guilty of seven charges of possessing goods for sale with forged trademarks. Colourmix Cosmetics Retail Company was also found guilty.

The chain, valued at HK$1.7 billion, had no previous criminal record.

Product purchase supervisor Lam Yuk-fong, 53, was cleared of eight similar charges as Kowloon City Court ruled she had no direct control over the counterfeits.

The fakes were uncovered in a customs operation on July 10, 2015, during which 482 bottles of Bioderma make-up removing water were seized from outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay, Sheung Wan, Kwai Chung, Tsing Yi and Tuen Mun, among others.

Only one bottle was genuine. The fakes lacked recycling logos and carried misprints, spelling mistakes, the wrong letter sizes and expiry dates that did not match genuine bottles from the same batch number.

Colourmix said during the trial that it had carefully selected its suppliers and sampled products for detailed examination.

Defence counsel Lawrence Lok Ying-kam SC said in mitigation that the incident was a one-off and there was little chance of it happening again.

“I am sure Colourmix will adopt a stricter attitude in product checks after this case,” he said.