A syndicate selling more than 30,000 suspected counterfeit goods, worth HK$3 million, has been busted by the police and Customs and Excise. The haul amounts to the largest seizure of its kind in a decade, the authorities announced on Thursday.
Suspected counterfeit products seized include leather goods, watches, clothing, perfumes and sunglasses. The goods were confiscated at two showrooms allegedly run by a syndicate in Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan.
In a joint operation between Customs and police, a 32-year-old Filipino woman was arrested at the showroom on July 28, while a 35-year-old woman and a 37-year-old Pakistani man, who was suspected to be the mastermind, were arrested on July 29. The Pakistani man was intercepted at border control while he was returning to Hong Kong from mainland China. They had been released on bail, pending further investigation.
Cheuk Tak-wai, divisional commander of the Customs and Excise Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, said that the syndicate was establishing a sales network with a membership scheme.
The alleged syndicate’s targets were not tourists, Cheuk said, but returning customers. Members who successfully referred a new member were allegedly awarded with a cash rebate. The case marked the first time a membership system in a suspected syndicate was discovered.
He said Customs could only confirm that part of the seized goods were imported from the mainland.
Cheuk also said, “All the sales of counterfeit goods are under control in Hong Kong now.”
The authorities are still investigating whether more people are involved in the case.
The sale of counterfeit goods is an offence in Hong Kong. Offenders are liable to maximum fine of HK$500,000 and up to five years of imprisonment.