More than 90,000 fake cosmetic products seized at Chinese port

They were part of massive haul of over 53 million goods confiscated last month in the eastern city of Ningbo after a tip-off

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 4:19pm

Customs officers seized more than 90,000 fake cosmetic products bound for export in Ningbo last month – the biggest batch of counterfeit make-up ever found at the eastern Chinese port.

The discovery was part of a bumper haul of more than 53 million fake, undeclared and defective goods confiscated from the same shipment at the industrial hub in Zhejiang province, Shanghai-based news outlet reported on Monday.

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The city’s customs bureau received a tip-off on July 7 that two cargo containers of fake make-up bound for Vietnam and Bangladesh would be packed in the nearby city of Yiwu then sent from Ningbo, the report said.

Other items intercepted by customs officers included lighter fluid and badminton racquets – all of it counterfeit and intended for online shoppers, one of the traders responsible for the delivery told the news outlet.

The traders involved had been “dealt with” by the relevant authorities, the report said, without elaborating. It did not give an estimated value for the seized goods.

Wang Zhiyang, head of Ningbo Customs, said the fake cosmetics could have posed a health risk for consumers.

“If such a large number of counterfeit cosmetics – possibly containing toxic chemicals – were to leave the country, it could have negatively affected the health of tens of thousands of people,” Wang was quoted as saying.

Fake make-up seized in China in the past has been found to contain harmful substances such as mercury, lead, arsenic and even human urine and rat droppings, Agence France-Presse reported in 2015. Some of those substances can cause severe allergic reactions such as skin rashes as well as burns.

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China has found it difficult to shake off its reputation for making cheap, low-quality products, and Beijing has attempted to crack down on counterfeit goods in recent years. In 2015, it launched a national drive to improve manufacturing processes and improve the quality of products.

Nevertheless, some 86 per cent of the world’s counterfeit goods are produced in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to a 2015 report by the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol. Many of those products end up in the EU to be sold via online retailers including eBay and Amazon, the report said.

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Earlier this year, police seized more than US$120 million worth of fake luxury cosmetics in the city of Taizhou, which is also in Zhejiang.