Customs arrested two men yesterday (September 4) for selling counterfeit goods through an auction site and seized a fake handbag and a computer used for related online auction dealings.
The operation was in response to reports about an auction site suspected to be selling counterfeit leather goods. Two men, both aged 21, who claimed to be partners of a fashion trading company, were arrested when Customs officers pretending to be buyers met them in Tsuen Wan to receive the ordered goods. The computer was seized in a commercial premises connected with the concerned auction site account.
During investigations, Customs officers found that the concerned account had already ceased operation, but the suspects had opened another account selling a suspected counterfeit handbag at $8,200.
Customs officers believe that the counterfeit handbag was bought on the Mainland for $400 and sold on the auction site at a price far lower than for a genuine one to attract buyers. The suspects avoided Customs detection by swiftly closing the account after successfully selling a counterfeit item and continue their illicit activities through a new account.
Customs officers believe that the arrested persons have opened a number of accounts and were liaising with the auction site concerned for follow-up investigations.
A Customs spokesman appealed to members of the public to be alert to such piracy activities when taking part in online auction dealings to avoid loss.
From January 2008 to end of July this year, Customs has detected 39 cases of online sale of counterfeit items arresting 47 persons. The spokesman stressed that Customs' Anti-Internet Piracy Teams would closely monitor online piracy activities and follow up on reports by the public. Enforcement action would be taken against people committing any piracy offences.
Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, it is a criminal offence to sell goods with forged trade marks. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Anyone who comes across any suspected online piracy activities can report to Customs by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Wednesday, September 5, 2009