Chinese police seize over US$120 million of fake branded cosmetics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 11:40am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 11:40am

Police in eastern China have seized more than 800 million yuan (HK$905 million) worth of counterfeit cosmetics, including popular high-end brand names like Chanel, Christian Dior, Lancome and Estee Lauder.

Fifteen suspects had been arrested in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, with 13 already charged for their roles in making and selling the fake products, local news portal reported late on Wednesday, citing local police.

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Those arrested included suspects from Henan and Heilongjiang provinces, and the goods seized had a street value of around 827 million yuan, according to the report.

Taizhou police had busted seven underground dens earlier this month and seized more than 1,200 boxes of the counterfeit make-up, according to local authorities.

The syndicate was first brought to police attention in February last year, when a woman in Taizhou found the “Amway” shampoo and body wash she bought online at a bargain different from the ones she had been using before and filed a police report.

Amway is an American company that produces health and beauty products.

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Police set up a task force to bust the ring after finding that the products were fake and being sold online in huge quantities.

A raid on the e-shop’s warehouse the following month resulted in a seizure of some 100 boxes of counterfeit Amway products worth about 200,000 yuan. It also led to another shop, in Wenzhou, whose operators gave up their counterparts in Henan and Heilongjiang after their arrest.

A manufacturer of the fake goods in Pingdingshan, Henan province, said he had bought raw materials online and mixed them to make the products. The packaging was bought in Guangdong province and QR codes on original products copied onto the counterfeits, according to the report.

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The man admitted that he ran several large underground workshops and that his counterfeit beauty products, which all used high-end brand names, were sold online at prices at least 10 times their cost, the report said.

The fake goods cost only tens of yuan to make, he said, adding that if customers complained about the products, they were given refunds to keep them from taking the matter further.

Police said the counterfeit products seized would be destroyed.