Cyber patrol tracks and arrests people in HK selling counterfeit goods online

Cyber patrol tracks and arrests people in HK selling counterfeit goods online

You could make easy money by selling counterfeit goods online, but it's illegal - and easy to get caught

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Some of the fakes people tried to sell on internet platforms
Photo: Sam Tsang/SCMP

The Customs and Excise Department has issued a warning to teenagers who sell fake products through social media for easy pocket money. The department says customs officers regularly use cyber patrols to track online sales of fake goods. Many young people think it is difficult to track their crime online, but the department's spokesperson told Young Post yesterday that their tracking system automatically monitors popular networking platforms, auction sites, and forums to detect online sales related to counterfeits.

Compared to 2014, more than twice as many people have been arrested this year for selling counterfeit goods. Officers have arrested 54 secondary school students and 28 university students so far for allegedly selling counterfeit items online, compared to only 41 such cases in 2014. The 82 cases account for nearly 40 per cent of all the counterfeit arrests made by customs this year.

The youngest was a 13-year-old girl studying in Form Two, who was picked up in March delivering counterfeit soccer shorts. Customs officers seized 62 fake items from her flat, and courts later imposed a care and protection order on her.

Selling counterfeit goods could land you with a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of HK$500,000. Many students believe that it isn't illegal as long as they tell the buyers the products are counterfeits. But the department assured Young Post that these were illegal activities that could leave you with a criminal record for life.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Cyber patrols track students selling fakes

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