Customs swoop on counterfeit cartoon products in Sham Shui Po

2 Sep 2005

Hong Kong Customs officers today (September 2) conducted an operation at Fuk Wing Street in Sham Shui Po targeting at wholesalers and retailers of counterfeit goods with trademarks of popular cartoon characters.

This raid, following the last operation at Tai Yuen Street in Wan Chai on June 30, signified Customs commitment to protecting intellectual property rights under the Department's partnership with trademark owners.

Customs officers of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau and Special Task Force, with the assistance of related trademark owners, mounted the operation at 11am this morning. They raided 16 wholesalers and retailers which were suspected of selling counterfeit goods with trademarks of popular US and Japanese cartoon characters of various brand names.

Customs officers seized about 37,500 pieces of goods, including toys, stationery, handbags, home appliances, worth about $1.5 million.

They also arrested nine men and 12 women, aged between 22 and 52. They included shop owners and salespersons. They are now on bail pending further investigations.

Initial investigations showed that genuine goods had been mixed with counterfeit goods for sale in a bid to evade Customs detection. Customs officers are investigating the source of the counterfeit products.

Hosting a press briefing on the operation today, the Head of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Mr Lui Kin-hung, said, "Customs would continue to maintain close cooperation with trademark owners in combating counterfeiting activities."

"Designated contact points have been set up with related trademark owners to ensure speedy exchange of intelligence. Once we receive intelligence or a report concerning suspected counterfeiting activities, we will promptly contact the trademark owner concerned, seeking its help in ascertaining whether the goods are counterfeit.

"Enforcement action will be taken once the alleged goods are confirmed counterfeit ones by trademark owners," Mr Lui said.

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.

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

Ends/Friday, September 2, 2005

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