Chinese raid uncovers fake golf products

The global crackdown of fake golf products has brought results following a successful raid in China and a prison sentence in a separate case.

In the raid, which took place in Tangxia, a major industrial centre in Dongguan City, China, the US Golf Manufacturers and Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group seized more than 1000 fake golf products, including clubs, club heads and golf bags.

The raid, carried out by the Dongguan Municipal Chinese Administration for Industry and Commerce, has been described by the US Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group as a concerted worldwide effort to shutdown the production, distribution and selling of counterfeit golf products.

The Group also announced the sentencing of Wang Xuhan in relation to a case from 2015, where authorities found 8,877 counterfeit golf items in his Tanxia manufacturing operation. He has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 500,000 RMB (more than $76,000). The prison term is one of the largest individual sentences in the group’s history.

“Counterfeiters are trying to capitalise on the popularity of all of our brands both in the US an abroad, and we’re happy that the authorities are continuing to send the message that fakes won’t be tolerated,” said Stephen Gingrich, VP of global legal enforcement for Srixon/Cleveland/XXIO, part of Dunlop Sports Company.

“Counterfeiting efforts, particularly through online sales, continue to threaten the integrity of the game. The enforcement efforts driven by the group are more important than ever,” Gingrich added.

And this effort will continue, said Joe Nauman, executive vice president for corporate and legal for Acushnet Company. “We’ve successfully identified and worked with government officials to shut down some large counterfeiting operations this year, but our work is not done. We need to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters who constantly devise new ways to manufacture and sell their fake goods to unsuspecting consumers. We’re committed to innovating new strategies to prevent these forgeries worldwide.”

Since 2004, the golf group’s close collaboration with international authorities has led to the seizure of nearly two million pieces of counterfeited gear imitating some of the sport’s most trusted brands, and the arrest of more than 40 suspects for their involvement in counterfeit golf products.

In 2014, Chinese authorities confiscated 150,000 fake items, with counterfeit manufacturers fined more than $860,000. Meanwhile, in the last five years, nearly 1,500 websites selling counterfeit clubs and accessories have also been shut down as the direct result of legal action brought by the group.

The group estimates that as many as 2 million counterfeit golf clubs are produced each year, as well as millions of fake balls, bags, gloves and apparel. The growth of the black market internet trade has led to an increase in the sale of fake golf products over the past decade. \

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