The number of teenagers arrested for selling fake goods online has doubled, customs officers say.

Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department arrested 54 secondary school students and 28 tertiary students for selling counterfeit goods online in the first 11 months of this year. The total of 82 cases is already double the number for 2014.

Among those arrested was a 13-year-old Form Two student, who was arrested for selling fake sweatpants worth HK$5,500. Louise Ho Pui-shan, head of the CED’s Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, said the student arranged everything from stocking to selling. A Juvenile Court imposed a care and protection order on the student.

Louise Ho Pui-shan.

Customs officers also arrested two Secondary Four students for selling fake football jerseys. They were fined HK$16,000 and HK$8,000 respectively. The Department caught four people, aged from 13 to 24, selling fake iPhone 6s. Ho said these counterfeit iPhones closely resembled the original products, and the arrested earned a few hundred dollars from selling them at around HK$1,000.

Ho also said many arrested teenagers traded fake goods to earn quick cash for pocket money. Some teenagers came from well-off families, and thought they would not be arrested if they made it clear to the customers that they were selling high-quality fake goods.

Counterfeit goods.

In a total of 182 cases of selling fake goods online, 69% took place via social networking platforms, and 29% on auction websites. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Wechat were channels for offenders to sell counterfeit goods.

Ho warned that those convicted would have criminal records which might affect education and career prospects.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.