Customs score as bogus World Cup goods seized

Top News | Charlotte Luo and Cissy So 15 Jun 2018

Nearly 300,000 counterfeit football World Cup products worth more than HK$15 million have been seized as Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department officers and their mainland counterparts work together.

The goods, confiscated between April 30 and June 13, have been trafficked through passenger and cargo channels at the airport, seaport and land boundary and railway control points. They were seized from 12 seaborne containers, four goods vehicles and a batch of air parcels.

Five people were arrested over 21 cases.

The goods include about 180,000 pieces of clothing and accessories, 50,000 pairs of shoes and 29,000 bags. About 57,000 pieces are suspected to be counterfeit jerseys, among which 50,000 pieces allegedly bore forged Fifa trademarks.

Customs warned that any person who imports or exports any goods that have a forged trademark commits an offense. The maximum penalty is a fine of HK$500,000 and five years' imprisonment.

In the mainland, customs officers from several cities stopped hundreds of thousands of supposed counterfeit World Cup items from leaving the country. Most of them - confiscated in Guangdong province and Shanghai and Yiwu in Zhejiang province - were footballs and clothing.

Police are also concerned about illegal gambling. They have arrested 45 people and smashed a gambling syndicate ahead of last night's opening game. They seized HK$78 million worth of bets and HK$2.5 million in cash. The operation was conducted with Shenzhen and Dongguan police.

Meanwhile, Hongkongers are in a celebratory mood over the World Cup. Fans flooded to Lan Kwai Fong to join the festivities at the "UnionPay Card LKF Football Fever Opening Party," which was held last night. The event was organized by the Lan Kwai Fong Association.

In addition to freestyle football and live band performances, there were also interactive games and photo booths.

Tommy Fong Leung-shuen, director of the Lan Kwai Fong Association, expects business to increase by 20 percent during the World Cup.

More stories: Pages 47 and 48

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