Hong Kong Customs officers detected a workshop engaged in counterfeit gourmet seasoning - Monosodium glutamate (MSG) manufacturing on July 24.
In the operation, the manufacturing workshop in Lok Ma Chau was smashed and two foodstuff wholesale shops in Western District were searched.
Customs officers seized 291 bags of suspected counterfeit MSG worth about $28,000 and 1,123 bags of raw materials and manufacturing equipment worth about $116,000. The officers also arrested seven men and three women, aged between 34 and 55, including workshop operators and foodstuff wholesalers.
The department started in-depth investigations after receiving the trade mark owner's complaint about counterfeiting products allegedly for sale by foodstuff wholesalers three weeks ago.
The officers took action on July 24 and arrested two operators of the workshop when they were delivering the suspected counterfeit MSG to Western District and seized 45 bags of suspected counterfeit MSG on a goods vehicle. The officers then searched two foodstuff wholesale shops in Western District where 118 bags of suspected MSG were found and eight persons were arrested.
A follow-up raid at the workshop in Lok Ma Chau resulted in the seizure of another 108 bags of suspected counterfeit MSG, 1,123 bags of raw material, some manufacturing equipment and packing materials.
With reference to receipts found in the foodstuff wholesale shops, Customs officers seized another 20 bags of suspected counterfeit MSG in several restaurants and food premises.
The Divisional Commander (Trade Descriptions Investigation) of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Customs and Excise Department, Mr Koon Hon-chuen, appealed today (July 26) to foodstuff wholesalers and operators of food premises to be cautious about the genuineness of products during their procurement. They should contact relevant trade mark owners or their authorised agents if they encounter any suspicious goods. Members of the public are urged to report to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 for any suspected counterfeiting activities.
It is a criminal offence for anyone contravenes the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Ends/Monday, July 26, 2010