Hong Kong Customs Kills Internet Toy Counterfeiting Business

Hong Kong Customs raided a warehouse in Tsuen Wan and stopped a local Internet website from selling counterfeit products to overseas buyers.

The operation earlier this month resulted in the arrest of an unnamed man and an unnamed woman, both aged 37, and the seizure of 181 boxes of suspected counterfeit toys worth about HKD20,000.

Hong Kong Customs had earlier received a report alleging that a website was offering counterfeit toys. Upon in-depth investigation conducted by the Customs Anti-Internet Piracy Team, the server of the website was found to be in Hong Kong and the website was mainly for selling toys. Among the products, a type of toy had been confirmed by the relevant trademark owner as counterfeit.

The undisclosed website, written in English, only focused on overseas customers. Payment could only be made through an online electronic payment gateway in US dollars. To further conceal its counterfeiting business, a small portion of genuine but less popular toys was also found on the website. The suspected counterfeit toys were marked "Knock Off" to cover up the poor quality.

After overseas customers had paid through the online electronic payment gateway for buying the goods, the man would send the goods through the postal channel. Investigations revealed that several hundred postal packets were posted monthly and the amount involved was around HKD200,000.

Since the website only focused on the overseas market, a customs officer hence posed as an overseas customer and ordered a set of suspected counterfeit toys for USD55 from the website. The man was arrested when he was about to post the items at a post office. A batch of postal packets containing 15 boxes of suspected counterfeit toys was seized.

Under the Hong Kong Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person who imports, exports, sells or manufactures goods to which a forged trademark was applied commits a criminal offense. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of HKD500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

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