Chinese police seize 2,000 bottles of fake liquor worth US$152,000, detain 17 suspects

Crack teams raid six shops in Hunan province after surveilling family crime gang for six months

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 3:38pm

Police in central China seized more than 2,000 bottles of counterfeit Chinese spirits with a retail value of more than 1 million yuan (US$152,000) in raids on six tobacco and liquor stores last month, according to Chinese media reports.

The operation, in Zhuzhou, Hunan province, was staged as part of a citywide crackdown on fake alcohol and tobacco products, the Legal Evening News reported on Thursday, citing a police statement.

The raids on September 25, which involved 30 elite police officers, came after six months of police surveillance of a suspected family-run criminal gang, the report said.

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A total of 17 people were detained in the raids, which as well as the bottles of spirits netted 40,000 items of counterfeit packaging.

Most of the products seized were fake versions of luxury brands produced by Kweichow Moutai and Wuliangye, which can retail for about 600 yuan a bottle, the report said.

It did not say if any of the suspects had been formally charged.

An unnamed police source was quoted as saying that the large-scale selling of fake spirits by criminal gangs was having a “very harmful impact on society”.

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The Zhuzhou gang – whose members were all relatives – operated like a business, with a clear hierarchy and division of labour, the police source said, adding that a police investigation was ongoing.

In April, Kweichou Moutai was named the world’s most valuable alcohol manufacturer, overtaking Diageo, the company behind the popular blended whisky brand Johnnie Walker.