To combat counterfeit goods selling activities in Temple Street, Customs officers mounted eight operations under the codename "Hurricane" for the past three weeks, and smashed two counterfeit goods storage centers, which were the source of the goods for the stalls.
During the operations, Customs officers seized some 1,600 counterfeit goods worth about $170,000. Two Chinese women, one Indonesian woman and three Hong Kong men, aged between 24 and 38, were arrested.
On April 11, Customs officers cracked down on a counterfeit handbags storage centre, situated in a residential apartment near Temple Street, which led to the seizure of over 600 counterfeit handbags, worth $70,000. A 24 year-old Indonesian woman was arrested.
Separately, investigation showed that offenders displayed counterfeit goods photos only when conducting business to minimize loses if arrested. They collected goods from a storage centre, which was a rented room in a Mah-jong recreation club for disguise, after receiving customers' order.
Subsequently, disguising Customs officers rented a mah-jong room in the concerned club for surveillance. They mounted operation yesterday (April 14) and seized from another rented room 150 counterfeit watches, valued at $40,000. Three Hong Kong men, aged between 29 and 38, were arrested.
"As the counterfeit goods on sale in Temple Street were mainly from the two storage centers smashed, it is believed that Customs had hit hard on the illegal activities by cutting its source," a spokesman for Customs and Excise said today (April 15).
"Following Customs vigorous enforcement, the scale of such illegal activities has been reduced significantly. Attempting to evade Customs investigation, offenders now carry business in irregular hours displaying counterfeit goods photos to customers only," he added.
He stressed that Customs would continue its stringent measure in combating counterfeit goods selling activities in the district.
Any person who contravenes the Trade Descriptions Ordinance is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Ends/Friday, April 15, 2005