Fake luxury goods still rife at Ladies Market

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 February, 2007, 12:00am

Fake luxury handbags and wallets continue to be sold in Mong Kok's Ladies Market despite police, customs and travel industry efforts to eradicate the trade.

The Customs and Excise Department said the illegal vendors would be raided in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year. Two South China Morning Post visits last week found they would have plenty of products to seize.

At least four businesses were offering counterfeit bags by trendy designers such as Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Todd and Vivienne Westwood to hoards of tourists. Many of them come to the market solely to buy fakes.

Touts working in the market solicit for business by showing pictures in Japanese fashion magazines of the products available in secret showrooms in apartments behind the market. The showrooms were packed with tourists paying a fraction of the price for designer goods. Lookouts are posted in the markets and stairwells of the rooms and the workers communicate on two-way radio.

Once inside the door is locked. The Post was offered one of the latest edition Marc Jacobs handbags for HK$1,380, less than one 10th of the retail price of the bags in Hong Kong.

One tourist from Dubai, who visits Hong Kong three times a year, said he always came to the market to buy fake goods to take back home for family and friends.

'The quality here is always exceptional and they have a wide variety of goods,' he said.

One of the shop assistants claimed the products in the store were made in Hong Kong rather than on the mainland to ensure the quality was good.

But customs divisional commander Samson Chiu Yuk-hung said the scale of the counterfeit goods market in Hong Kong had shrunk drastically.

'Offenders are forced to sell counterfeit goods in a more stealthy modus operandi,' he said.

Last year, customs seized goods worth an estimated HK$15.6 million in raids and arrested 112 people

The number of cases last year decreased by 17 per cent compared with 2005.