The Customs and Excise Department seized over 100 catties of suspected fake dried abalone slices in a series of raids on 31 dried seafood retail shops over the past week. The seized goods were worth about $30,000. In the operation, 22 men and six women, aged from 30 to 59, were arrested for further investigation.
Responding to complaints concerning suspected fake dried seafood, the department conducted test purchases of dried abalone slices at a number of dried seafood retail shops throughout the territory in December last year.
Thirty-one samples carrying trade descriptions including "abalone slices", "Australian abalone slices", "Japanese abalone slices", "American abalone slices" and "South African abalone slices" were sent to the Government Laboratory for analysis. Results of the analysis revealed that all the samples were conch instead of abalone.
To protect consumer rights, the department searched 31 dried seafood shops and seized 117 catties of "dried abalone slices" for suspected contraventions of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.
The Head of the Trade Descriptions and Transshipment Controls Bureau of the Customs and Excise Department, Mr Marcus Lau, today (February 11) said that the seized goods were priced from $128 to $560 per catty while the selling prices of genuine dried abalone, in general, ranged from a few thousand to over ten thousand dollars per catty. The genuine goods were also rarely sold in slices.
The Customs appealed to the public to be cautious when buying dried seafood. Consumers should consider making the purchases at shops with a good reputation.
The Customs also reminded traders that selling or supplying goods with a false trade description is a serious offence under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. Any person convicted of the offence is liable to a maximum penalty of $500,000 fine and five years' imprisonment. Members of the public are urged to report any suspected violations of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Thursday, February 11, 2010