Arrest made as fake cosmetics, perfumes seized in Hong Kong

While investigating a case involving online sale of counterfeit cosmetics products and perfume, Hong Kong Customs have seized around 2,600 suspected fake products with an estimated market value of about HK$960,000 (around $122,000).

One unidentified 45-year-old man has been arrested during the operation, which uncovered products suspected of infringing trademarks held by big cosmetic and perfume brands including Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy and Clarins, amongst others.

In a statement, HK Customs said the operation was prompted by a tip-off that suspected counterfeit cosmetics products and perfume had been put on sale through online platforms. An initial investigation revealed that a seller set up a dedicated page in an online community marketplace to sell the goods.

Customs officers posed as customers and conducted test-purchases online. After an in-depth investigation with the assistance of trademark owners, a raid was carried out at a residential premises in Yuen Long where the arrest was made.

"An investigation is ongoing and the likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out," said HK Customs in a statement. "Also, customs is looking into the source of the suspected counterfeit goods involved in the case and samples will be sent to the government laboratory for safety testing."

Fake cosmetics seized by law enforcement have previously been found on analysis to contain potentially hazardous chemicals including cyanide, human urine, arsenic, mercury and lead. The contaminants raise the risk of allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns, and other side effects.

Under Hong Kong's Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person who sells or possesses for sale any goods with a forged trademark commits an offence and faces a fine of up to HK$500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

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