Hong Kong Customs earlier received complaints from members of the public against a private education centre in Tuen Mun. The centre offered a range of interest classes and school admission interview courses for primary and secondary school students. After making pre-payment, consumers found the centre had closed down suddenly and was unable to provide the courses. The allegations were suspected to have constituted offences of wrongly accepting payment under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).
After initial investigation, Customs officers arrested a 38-year-old male director today (August 17). The case is still under investigation and the arrested person has been put on bail.
Under the TDO, a trader commits an offence if at the time of acceptance of payment, the trader intends not to supply the product or intends to supply a materially different product, or there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the trader will be able to supply the product within a specified or reasonable period. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Customs reminded traders to comply with the statutory requirements of the TDO. Traders should not accept pre-payment from consumers if they are uncertain whether the pertinent goods or services can be delivered to consumers at the agreed time or, if no time is agreed, within a reasonable time.
Members of the public may report suspected cases in violation of the TDO to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Wednesday, August 17, 2016