Luxury goods scam busted

Local | Phoebe Lee 23 Jan 2020

The customs and excise department has busted an online syndicate that posed as a buyer of bona fide designer goods but was in fact selling counterfeit products, arresting five people and seizing HK$1.1 million worth of fake goods.

The five, a man and four women, were aged between 23 and 56 years old, and some of them were from the same family.

Officers raided a storage and packaging center in Kwai Chung, seizing about 1,100 suspected counterfeit goods.

They believe the syndicate has probably been buying counterfeit goods from other sources and repackaging them.

The items include shoes, clothes and bags that are supposed to have been purchased overseas by the syndicate from shops selling designer brands.

The strategy was to put up 30 to 40 items up for sale at a time.

The department said the syndicate used multiple online accounts for the sales.

Buyers, who contacted the syndicate online, would be asked to send payments to its bank accounts prior to delivery of the repackaged counterfeit goods.

It is believed that the creation of multiple online and bank accounts enabled the syndicate to operate without getting caught.

"This is the first time we have discovering a counterfeiting syndicate that sells suspected fake goods online in the name of being a shopping agent," said Wong Che-yin, divisional commander of intellectual property technology crime investigations.

The crackdown followed a large number of complaints customs has been receiving of late about people selling fake items online.

The online accounts offered the goods in a very similar modus operandi. Photos of the items put up for sale and their prices, for instance, corresponded with every other account. It is believed that the syndicate sold goods at a price that was 50 percent cheaper than genuine designer items.

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