A counterfeit syndicate selling fake products at the popular Ladies Market was busted by Hong Kong customs on Thursday (Dec 15), the largest of three syndicates busted this year.
The Customs and Excise Department on Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok arrested 10 people and seized HK$10 million (S$1.9 million) worth of products, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
SCMP quoted Guy Fong Wing-kai of Customs' Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations) Group as saying that the syndicate selected potential customers more carefully to avoid detection after the bust.
"The gang only served tourists from Europe and America," he said. "They did not approach locals or Asian tourists in case they were undercover customs officers."
According to SCMP, the syndicate sold their goods at five to 20 per cent of the genuine products' price.
About a month ago, customs officers noticed counterfeiting activities along the popular shopping belt. Their investigations showed the syndicate sold counterfeit goods at four hawker stalls in the market and used computer tablets to show clients product photos.
"Some clients were taken to its upstairs showroom nearby, which was packed with about 600 counterfeit products," Fong said, adding that four nearby flats were used as warehouses.
On Thursday, about 90 customs officers raided the four hawker stalls, the secret showroom and the four warehouses.
SCMP reported that seven men and three women, including the two ringleaders, were rounded up in the operation. More than 10,000 fake products were seized, including watches, handbags and leather goods.
Fong said they believe the syndicate stocked up the large amount of goods to sell during the Christmas and New Year periods.