Customs clamps down on selling of counterfeit and pirated goods on Internet auction sites (with photo)

7 Sep 2012

Hong Kong Customs has mounted a special operation since May this year targeting the sale of counterfeit and infringing goods on Internet auction sites. As at today (September 7), Customs officers have detected 27 cases and 32 persons have been arrested.

During the operation, about 3 500 counterfeit and infringing goods including counterfeit handbags, purses, accessories, sunglasses, clothing, shoes and socks, pirated optical discs and infringing examination papers, etc, and 27 computers were seized. The total value of the seizures was about $540,000. Thirty-two persons, comprising 17 males and 15 females, aged between 18 and 55, were arrested. Among them, 17 were employed, 13 were unemployed, one was a student and one was a housewife. The operation is continuing.

The Group Head (Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations)), Mr Michael Kwan, said today at a press conference that to evade detection, the offenders would deliver their goods to buyers through different indirect channels after selling their goods on Internet auction sites. They would send out the counterfeit goods and infringing items by express courier services or inform the buyers to collect their goods at specified locations by themselves without the presence of the sellers.

It was also found that some sellers had set up a number of accounts on different Internet auction sites in attempts to evade Customs investigation.

Mr Kwan stressed that it was not difficult for Customs to discover the activities of selling counterfeit or infringing goods on the Internet. With the assistance of Internet service providers, Customs can trace the locations of the computers involved in such activities. Regardless of the transaction methods used, Customs can get hold of the identities of those involved and make necessary arrests.

He reminded members of the public not to get involved in illegal activities such as the selling of counterfeit or infringing goods, which is a serious offence which would lead to a criminal record when convicted.

Hong Kong Customs will continue the operation against online selling of infringing goods, especially during festive seasons and long public holidays. The department will also maintain close co-operation with service providers of local auction sites to fight against such activities.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, it is a criminal offence for any person to import, export, sell or manufacture goods with a forged trademark. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, it is illegal to import, export, sell or manufacture infringing items. The maximum punishment is an imprisonment term of four years and a fine of $50,000 for each infringing copy.

Anyone who encounters any infringing activities can make a report to Customs by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Friday, September 7 2012

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