Hong Kong Customs mounts arrest operation regarding business closure of bakery chain

22 Sep 2022

Regarding the incident in which a bakery chain suddenly announced on September 13 that it had suspended its business, Hong Kong Customs today (September 22) arrested a male director of the bakery chain suspected of engaging in wrongly accepting payment in the sale of cake coupons or gift vouchers, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

Customs has been paying close attention to the incident and called on members of the public affected by the incident to provide information. As of 10am today, Customs had received a total of 104 complaints regarding the bakery chain, involving 5 300 cake coupons or gift vouchers amounting to about $270,000.

After investigation, it was revealed that customers who had purchased cake coupons or gift vouchers were unable to redeem the products concerned nor receive any refund of payments after the bakery chain suddenly announced that it had suspended its business. Customs officers therefore arrested a 55-year-old male director of the bakery chain today.

Investigation is ongoing and the arrested man has been released on bail pending further investigation.

Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO. Consumers are also reminded to procure cake coupons or gift vouchers at reputable shops and think prudently before making consumption decisions with a prepayment.

Under the TDO, any trader commits an offence if at the time of acceptance of payment, the trader intends not to supply the product or intends to supply a materially different product, or there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the trader will be able to supply the product within a specified or reasonable period. 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 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, September 22, 2022

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