Customs officials arrested 15 people and seized a large quantity of goods in an operation aimed at curbing the sale of counterfeit portable fans in Hong Kong.
The arrested included five salespersons and 10 store owners, aged between 18 and 69, according to a press release from the government Tuesday.
The suspects — six men and nine women — were released on bail pending further investigation.
The arrests came after raids on retail outlets over the past month, which led to seizures of over 1,200 suspected counterfeit portable fans.
Fake goods valued at about HK$43,000 were seized from 10 retail outlets, which were cashing in on the demand for portable fans amid scorching temperatures in the city.
According to Phoebe Wong Wai-chuen, a divisional commander at the Intellectual Property General Investigation unit of the Customs, preliminary tests suggested that the counterfeit portable fans posed no imminent safety risks.
However, their quality is relatively inferior, the official said, noting that the fans may not have gone through sufficient inspection or testing.
Apple Daily noted that there are both genuine and counterfeit portable fans coming from mainland China. The genuine products are priced at HK$40-HK$60, while the fake ones are being sold in the HK$20-50 range.
There are some major differences among the fans that customers should bear in mind, the Customs said.
First, the real portable fans feature a long slot hole while the fake ones have the hole in an oval or irregular shape. Second, the blade, battery slot and battery from genuine fans would have the brand logo or bar code printed on, while there is none on fake ones.
Also, the fake items have a small opening at the back which makes the wires visible, unlike the case with genuine products.
The department said it will continue to take stringent enforcement actions to combat the sale of counterfeit goods.
Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, it is an offence to sell or possess for sale any goods with a forged trademark. Upon conviction, offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years and a fine of HK$500,000.
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