Watches.com subsidiary has goods seized in Hong Kong; director and staff out on bail

Shares of Watches.com tumbled 0.2 cent or 12.5 per cent to 1.4 cents as of 11.45am on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: PIXABAY

SINGAPORE - An indirect subsidiary of Singapore-listed Watches.com, CKLY Trading Limited (CTL), is under investigation by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&E) for alleged offences related to Hong Kong's Trade Description Ordinance.

Under the laws of Hong Kong, the ordinance prohibits false trade descriptions and forged trademarks in respect of goods provided in the course of trade or business.

CTL is also an indirect associate of Singapore-listed electronics distributor Incredible Holdings.

Both Watches.com and Incredible Holdings announced late on Monday that Customs officers entered CTL's premises in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong on Aug 31 and seized about 500 watches amounting to a book value of some $30,000.

While it was not mentioned if arrests were made, both groups in their respective bourse filings said Incredible Holdings executive director Christian Heilesen and a CTL sales employee had to go to the Customs headquarters "at the instruction of C&E to assist with the investigation".

Mr Heilesen and the unidentified employee are said to be subsequently released on bail by the police at the fully paid bail amounts of HK$20,000 (S$3,580) and HK$10,000 respectively.

Both parties' passports were not impounded by the authorities and there were no travel restrictions imposed on them.

The boards of Watches.com and Incredible Holdings said they do not deem the ongoing investigation as material considering the book value of the seized products and that neither group is reliant on Mr Heilesen for proper oversight and management, among other things.

Both Catalist-listed companies highlighted that Mr Heilesen was not ordered to produce documents and "has only been asked to assist" with the investigation.

While Mr Heilesen will have to report to police officers on the matter three months after his bail, the companies emphasised that he was not formally charged nor the subject of any judgment or ruling.

They added that it is CTL's "clear and firm belief" that the watches seized are real and genuine.

"It is CTL's firm stance that they have done nothing improper or illegal, let alone criminal, in the course of CTL's business in relation to the watches seized. Both Mr Heilesen and the sales staff will contest all allegations made against them vigorously," said Watches.com and Incredible Holdings.

Shares of Watches.com tumbled 0.2 cent or 12.5 per cent to 1.4 cents as at 11.45am on Tuesday. Incredible Holdings shares were unchanged at 0.2 cent. Both companies called for a trading halt on Sept 2, with their shares resuming trading on Tuesday. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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