Customs foils sale of suspected counterfeit medicines and selling of medicines with unfair trade practices (with photo)

9 Oct 2014

Acting on information on the selling of counterfeit medicines, Customs conducted a series of blitz operations in Cheung Sha Wan, Tsing Yi and San Po Kong on October 7 and 8, and successfully smashed a wholesale and retail syndicate involved in selling suspected counterfeit Chinese proprietary medicines. In the operations, a total of three cases were detected with the arrest of four persons. About 64 000 pills of suspected counterfeit medicines, valued at about $200,000, were seized.

In operations conducted on these two days, Customs successfully raided an office at an industrial building in Cheung Sha Wan where suspected counterfeit medicines were stored for the purpose of sale. A number of drug stores were also searched and two of them were found to be involved in selling or possessing for sale suspected counterfeit medicines.

The operations resulted in seizure of about 64 000 pills of suspected counterfeit medicines with a total value of about $200,000. Two men and two women, aged between 44 and 56, were arrested. They have been released on bail pending further investigations.

In addition, acting on a complaint, a Customs officer, disguised as a customer, conducted a test-buy operation at a drug store in Sheung Shui on October 3. In the test-buy, the salesperson concerned passed off lookalike products to the Customs officer as genuine medicines. He also claimed that the lookalike goods were the genuine medicines in old packaging. In the operation, about 1 000 pills of lookalike medicines with an estimated value of $4,000 were seized. A 25-year-old man suspected of selling the medicines with unfair trade practices was arrested.

The Group Head (Intellectual Property Investigation - Operations), Mr Wong Yim-pui, said at a press conference today (October 9) that Customs would continue to combat the sale of counterfeit pharmaceutical products with stringent enforcement actions. Customs reminded traders and the public that selling counterfeit medicines and selling medicines with unfair trade practices are serious crimes and offenders are liable to criminal sanctions.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person who sells or possesses for sale any goods with any forged trademark commits an offence. A trader engaged in a commercial practice who omits or hides material information; provides material information in a manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely; or fails to identify commercial intent, and as a result causes the average consumer to make a transactional decision that the consumer would not have made otherwise, commits an offence. Upon conviction, offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Anyone with information relating to any suspected violations of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance may call Customs via the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, October 9, 2014

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