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SHIPPING & MARINE | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Counterfeit rice seized

Hong Kong Customs seized 81 bags of rice bearing forged trademarks and with a total value of about $28,350 in an anti-counterfeit goods operation.


The shops raided were in Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Ma Tei, Sham Shui Po and Wong Tai Sin. 

In the operation, seven men and three women, aged between 27 and 57, including three company directors, three shop owners, two shop persons-in-charge, a deliveryman and a driver, were arrested.

Acting on information about the selling of inferior rice packaged with bags bearing forged trademarks, officers of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau carried out an investigation and took enforcement action against four grocery shops, a frozen food shop and a wholesaler in Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Ma Tei, Sham Shui Po and Wong Tai Sin.

The two-day operation resulted in the arrest of the 10 people and the seizure of 81 bags of rice bearing forged trademarks, 15 empty rice bags with forged trademarks and a sealing machine. The arrested people were released on bail.

After investigation, it is believed that unscrupulous merchants used the rice bags with forged trademarks and the sealing machine to repack the rice of inferior quality for sale. The main customers of the rice included ordinary citizens and food premises. Preliminary analysis by the Government Laboratory confirmed that the rice did not contain substances harmful to humans.

A Customs spokesman said that the success of the operation was attributed to the support and co-operation of the trademark owner and said Customs will continue to strengthen enforcement against such counterfeiting activities. Customs also appealed to retail shop owners to be cautious about the authenticity of their goods. They should not take goods from unidentified sources. If there is any suspicion, they should enquire with the trademark owners and report to Customs promptly.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person selling goods bearing a forged trademark commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for five years and a fine of $500,000.

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