Customs cracks down on sale of counterfeit cartoon products

30 Jun 2005

Hong Kong Customs officers this afternoon (June 30) conducted an operation at Tai Yuen Street and Cross Street in Wan Chai targeting at shops and stalls selling counterfeit goods with trademarks of popular cartoon characters.

The raid signified Customs commitment to protect intellectual property rights under the Department's partnership with trademark owners and members of the public.

With the assistance of related trademark owners, Customs officers of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau mounted the operation at 1pm today. They raided one shop and seven stalls, which were suspected of selling counterfeit goods with trademarks of popular US and Japanese cartoon characters.

Customs officers seized 1,500 pieces of goods, including clothes, toys, stationery, watches, accessories and handbags, worth about $18,000.

They also arrested three men and four women, aged between 17 and 64.

Customs officers are still investigating the source of the counterfeit products; and the operation still goes on.

"As confirmed by relevant trademark owners, majority of the shops and stalls at Tai Yuen Street and Cross Street sold genuine products. The selling activities of counterfeit goods are not rampant in the area," a spokesman for Customs and Excise Department said today (June 30).

"From Customs experience, although there are lots of seemingly counterfeit cartoon products on the market, most of them are confirmed genuine ones after examination by relevant trademark owners, as shown in this case," he added.

He pointed out that for successful enforcement and prosecution, Customs required trademark owners' co-operation in confirming whether the goods were counterfeit, and in adducing court evidence.

The spokesman stressed that Customs would continue to maintain close cooperation with trademark owners in combating counterfeit goods selling activities and would conduct investigation promptly, when a complaint or suspected case is received.

To safeguard Hong Kong's reputation as a shopping paradise for genuine goods, enforcement action will be taken once the alleged goods are confirmed counterfeit ones by trademark owners.

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.

Hong Kong Customs reminded the public to report any suspected counterfeiting activities to the Department by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, June 30, 2005

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