Hong Kong Customs officers have smashed two counterfeit-cosmetics rings selling makeup and skincare products.
In a five-day-long anti-counterfeiting operation last week, 12 people were arrested after seven retail stores and three warehouses were raided across the territory. Some 6400 items of suspected counterfeit cosmetics were seized with a market value estimated at HK$590,000.
The raids followed routine patrols where Customs officers discovered shops selling suspected counterfeit goods.
“After an in-depth investigation with the assistance of trademark owners, Customs officers took enforcement action in various districts during the above-mentioned period,” a Customs spokesperson said.
Six retail shops in Causeway Bay, Yau Ma Tei and Sheung Shui were raided first resulting in the seizure of about 1400 counterfeit items. After further investigation, Customs then focused on two suppliers distributing suspected counterfeit cosmetics and skin care products. A retail shop in Sheung Shui and three storage facilities of the two suppliers located in Yuen Long and Fanling were raided. About 5000 items were seized across those locations.
The products seized included toner, lotion, moisturising gel and sunscreen. Seven of the people arrested were men and five were women. They comprised five directors, one shop owner and six salespersons, all aged between 23 and 46.
“Investigation is ongoing and all arrested persons have been released on bail pending further investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Divisional Commander (IP general investigation) of Customs, Peggy Tam, said Customs has been taking stringent enforcement actions against the sale of counterfeit goods. She warned traders to be cautious and prudent in merchandising since the sale of counterfeit goods is a serious crime and offenders are liable to criminal sanctions. She also appealed to consumers to procure goods at reputable shops and to check with the trademark owners or their authorised agents if the authenticity of a product is in doubt.
Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person who sells or possesses for sale any goods with a forged trademark commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.