Salesperson of dispensary convicted for selling proprietary Chinese medicine with false representation (with photos)

9 Jun 2014

A salesperson of a dispensary today (June 9) pleaded guilty at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts to two counts of applying a false trade description to a proprietary Chinese medicine for sale, thus contravening the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO), and was fined $5,000 for the first charge and sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months for the second charge. Proprietary Chinese medicine worth $1,440 was confiscated.

The Customs and Excise Department reminded traders and employees to abide by the law and ensure that products for sale are in compliance with the statutory requirements of the TDO.

Acting on a complaint, Customs officers conducted two test purchases at the alleged dispensary in Mong Kok in late October and early December last year. In the two test purchases, Customs officers explicitly ordered "Beijing Ton Ren Tang Angong Niuhuang Wan", but were given "Nanjing Ton Ren Tang On Kung Niu Huang Wan". The salesperson falsely claimed that the product was "Beijing Ton Ren Tang Angong Niuhuang Wan". Upon inspecting the goods, Customs officers found that the Chinese characters "Nanjing, China, Tong Ren Tang Pharmaceutical Company Limited" were printed on each of the boxes but the characters "Nanjing, China" were concealed by labels on all the boxes. The salesperson was suspected of applying a false trade description to the goods for sale. Customs took enforcement action and initiated prosecution.

A Customs spokesman said that a trade description could be made by whatever means and in whatever form, including verbal representation or written record. The department will continue to crack down on unfair trade practices for protection of consumer rights.

Under the TDO, any person who in the course of trade or business supplies any goods to which a false trade description is applied, or has in his possession for sale any goods to which a false trade description is applied, commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Monday, June 9, 2014

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