Hong Kong customs agents have confiscated hundreds of bottles of fake Bioderma cleansing water and arrested 16 suspects.
The stash of 1,100 bottles of the French beauty brand was worth HK$120,000 (US$15,400), Ming Pao Daily reports.
The suspects are out on bail, pending further investigation.
Officers found 12 cosmetics and retail shops selling the fake product in Tin Shui Wai, Sheung Shui, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, according Louise Ho, head of the intellectual property investigation unit of the Customs and Excise Department.
The fakes came from mainland China and Europe, investigators said, but there were no traces of harmful chemicals in them.
They were being sold for HK$228 per bottle, the same price as the genuine product, and there is almost no way to tell them apart, investigators said.
Some online forums have been discussing how to distinguish between the two. [See here]
An authentic Bioderma product contains “01″ in the center of a green triangle on the underside, along with the letters “PP”.
Some fakes have no such markings.
Customs officers warned customers to buy only from reputable shops and call the distributor of any suspected fake.
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