Brief: Chinese police arrest 15 in fake alcohol crackdown

The authorities in China have broken up three criminal organisations involved in the distribution of counterfeit liquor, making 15 arrests, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.

The national operation also netted 55,000 counterfeit bottles of spirits, mainly knock-offs of Chinese ‘white liquor’ baijiu, says the report. It is estimated that the illicit activity could have made the criminals almost $16m over the last two or three years.

Baijiu is the most popular spirit in China with 11bn litres sold domestically in 2017, some of the top producers are now looking to develop an export market. Earlier this year, Chinese police destroyed almost 7,500 bottles of Maotai/Moutai baijiu, one of the best-known brands of the spirit in China, and the company has previously estimated it loses around RMB 200m ($31m) a year to counterfeiting.

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