An Eastern magistrate’s court acquitted two employees of a pharmacy charged with violating the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.
The judge lashed out at a senior official from the Customs and Excise Department, saying he had falsely accused the pair.
The court heard that Lee Chun-chiu, a senior customs inspector, walked into the pharmacy posing as a mainland customer to buy some kidney drugs.
It was part of an crackdown on pharmacies charging unreasonable prices to foreign customers.
The employees, surnamed Lo and Yu, introduced Lee to a drug called purple maca imported from Peru.
Lee claimed Yu intentionally kept him from seeing the price tag on a bottle of the drug and asked for HK$470 per kan (604.8g).
But when Lee got the invoice, he saw the price was changed to HK$470 per tsin (3.75g), or more than 160 times as much as what Yu had originally asked, the court heard.
Lee then identified himself as a customs officer and arrested the two employees.
But after checking CCTV footage from the the pharmacy, judge Chan Ping-chau decided that Lee’s claim was false.
The footage shows the price tag facing Lee all the time during the process and was clearly marked on the container.
An application by the defense lawyers for compensation of litigation fees was granted.
The Customs and Excise Department said it will study the court ruling before it decides what to do next.
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