Fake pharma ring selling HK$13.7m haul targeted parallel traders
Friday, December 13, 2019
Seven suspects gave been arrested after customs uncovered a counterfeit medicine operation which targeted traders from the mainland who came to Hong Kong to buy drugs which were widely in demand across the border, RTHK reports.
Customs said this was the biggest seizure in a decade with some 2.4 million tablets and 470 litres of fake medicine were confiscated on Tuesday. The medicines would have fetched HK$13.7 million in the market, they said.
Guy Fong, the head of the customs intellectual property investigation, said the drugs, intended to relieve common ailments like rheumatism had packaging similar to the genuine items.
He said pharmacies would sell the medicine only to people who they thought were gullible or traders who came from the mainland. The group operated for about three months before being uncovered.
"We believe they do not provide this kind of medicines to an average customer," said Fong. "They would take a look at the profile of the customer. If they believe they [customers] are not sharp enough or they believe they are mainland parallel import traders, they would recommend this counterfiet medicines to them."
Some of the drugs were priced at less than half the price of the original medicines and packed to look like they were meant for export to some underdeveloped countries.
Officers raided several pharmacies in Sheung Shui, Yuen Long and Jordan, as well as three units at a Chai Wan industrial building that were used for storage and packaging. Fake cosmetic and skin care products were among the seized items.