´╗┐Scrap traders fined for using inaccurate electronic platform scales

6 May 2009

Four scrap traders were fined from $2,000 to $5,000 under the Weights and Measures Ordinance after pleading guilty to using inaccurate electronic platform scales for weighing scrap paper. The electronic platform scales concerned were confiscated by the court.

The four cases are the first batch of scrap traders successfully prosecuted by Customs under the Weights and Measures Ordinance this year. A number of other scrap traders recently found to have committed the same offence will be prosecuted shortly.

Officers of the Customs and Excise Department posing as vendors sold scrap paper to the scrap shops and scrap mobile vehicles in various districts throughout the territory on several occasions between late 2008 and April 2009. They found that the operators of a number of shops and vehicles had manipulated the scales so that the weight shown was less than the actual weight, enabling them to pay less for the scrap paper.

The Deputy Head of the Customs and Excise Department's Consumer Protection Bureau, Mr Wong Yiu-cheung, said at a press briefing today (May 6) that in a series of operations, the electronic platform scales were found to have been adjusted, making the weight of the scrap paper shown by the scales to be less than their actual weight by 10 to 38%.

According to the results of an examination by an independent organisation, the electronic platform scales had been installed with a remote control device and adjusted with a non-standard conversion weighing unit, which enabled them to show a reading less than the actual weight.

Mr Wong said that Customs had stepped up spot checks and would continue to take stringent enforcement action against scrap traders using inaccurate electronic platform scales in order to protect the interests of citizens and uphold a fair trading environment.

Under the Weights and Measures Ordinance, any person who possesses, manufactures, supplies or uses for trade any weighing or measuring equipment which is false or defective commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $20,000. The false or defective weighing or measuring equipment is liable to forfeiture.

In addition, if any fraud is committed in the use for trade of any weighing or measuring equipment, the person perpetrating the fraud commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $20,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Hong Kong Customs appeals to the public to report any case of suspected fraud using defective weighing or measuring equipment to the department by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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