Hong Kong Customs, Intellectual Property Department, tourism-related bodies, consumer protection agency and owners of intellectual property rights, showed their commitment to promoting Hong Kong's image as a shopping paradise for genuine goods by pooling their resources to roll out new measures and a series of publicity programmes starting today (February 14).
To launch the campaign entitled "Hong Kong - The Real Experience", a road show and exhibition was held today at the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin.
Today's event was co-organised by the Customs and Excise Department, and the Intellectual Property Department (IPD) with the support of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Consumer Council.
Officiating at the opening ceremony were the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Miss Denise Yue; the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong, and the Director of Intellectual Property, Mr Stephen Selby.
Other officiating guests included the Chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, Mr Ronnie Ho; the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Ms Clara Chong; the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, Mrs Pamela Chan; and the Vice-Chairman of Sha Tin District Council, Mr Pang Cheung-wai.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Miss Denise Yue, said the Government would develop new tourist spots and organise various activities to promote Hong Kong's tourism industry.
In addition, she said the Government would also strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights in order to boost travellers' confidence in shopping in Hong Kong.
As a result, Miss Yue said, this would encourage tourists to come to Hong Kong more often to spend and recommend their relatives to do shopping in Hong Kong.
By launching this large-scale campaign, Miss Yue believed Hong Kong could reinforce its image as a shopping paradise.
The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong, said the strategic partnering of Government departments, tourism-related bodies, consumer protection agency and owners of intellectual property rights would fortify the territory against potential intellectual property rights infringers.
"We now have a very strong platform for co-operation in IPR protection and eradication of counterfeiting and piracy.
"Our Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance will be keen to bring home the message that all goods sold and bought between traders and members of the public should be genuine. Furthermore, through enhanced co-operation and information exchange among parties concerned, Customs will pick up clues about suspected counterfeiting and piracy cases much more readily, and, in turn, be able to enforce the law much more vigorously.
"Thus in enforcement terms, we are starting a new chapter of our anti-piracy campaign," Mr Tong said.
In March, the Customs will form the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance with the copyright and trademark industry. Under the alliance, different sectors of the industry will pledge to work together to protect intellectual property rights and help Customs to combat counterfeiting and piracy through a closely knitted network built up for market surveillance, information exchange and reporting of suspected cases.
In the same month, the IPD will re-launch the "No Fakes Pledge Scheme" and invite more retail outlets, including those in the travel industry, to sign up. Those who have pledged to sell genuine goods under the scheme will have a "No Fakes" sticker displayed in their shop windows.
The establishment of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance and the re-launch of the "No Fakes Pledge Scheme" are the two major initiatives in the campaign.
In addition to today's road show, the campaign includes a seminar, a television documentary, a TV Announcement of Public Interest, and publicity activities by the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Consumer Council, which target both local consumers and Mainland visitors.
The Customs is committed to the protection of intellectual property rights and has been taking vigorous enforcement action against counterfeiting activities.
They detected 641 cases involving offences about trademark counterfeiting and arrested 707 persons in 2003 in connection with seizures of counterfeit goods amounting to a total value of $169 million. In 2002, 669 cases were detected and 626 persons arrested with seizures valued at $122 million in total.
In 2004, Customs officers will step up enforcement against trademark counterfeiting through persistent and focussed raids at the black spots for selling counterfeit goods as well as launching intelligence-led operations to root out the syndicates operating at source.
Ends/Saturday, February 14, 2004