Customs bust fake U.S. sunglasses scam

Updated 2017-05-08 09:31:30 Global Times

Customers duped by China-made counterfeits mailed from overseas

Customs authorities in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, seized thousands of pairs of fake branded sunglasses that although made in China, were to be sent to the U.S., so the vendor could claim they were made overseas before shipped back to unsuspecting buyers on online shopping sites.

The 6,302 pairs of OAKLEY sunglasses, which were to be shipped in 2,280 separate parcels, have set the record for the largest haul of illegal goods seized in one case in a joint China-U.S. operation, the Nanjing Morning Post reported Sunday. The total value involved was 1.26 million yuan (2,553).

Customs officials in Nanjing's Jinling district became suspicious that one sender, surnamed Wang, had mailed such a large amount of similar-looking parcels to the U.S., all posted in Yancheng, also in Jiangsu.

Wang declared the goods as glasses.

When the parcels were opened, inspectors found that the glasses were just roughly packaged, with poorly printed logos and bad quality. This "does not fit the brand positioning of OAKLEY at all," an official said, the Nanjing Morning Post reported.

The report also said that Dalian customs, in North China's Liaoning Province, had uncovered a large amount of fake Japanese branded lipsticks, which had the same barcodes as the real ones.

The scam is to send counterfeit cosmetics and glasses abroad and then ship them back to China, so the customers are duped into thinking the goods are sent from the country of origin.

But customs officials are now wise to the scam and said they check all international parcels to crack down on goods which infringe on copyright.

"If people send fake goods, even just to relatives, they can face punishment," customs officials told the paper.

A vendor surnamed Zhang, who has a WeChat business with a friend in the U.S. to sell American products to China, said that she often receives messages from fake-product factories that sought cooperation with sellers in the U.S.

"They wanted to sell some fake products to me at quite a cheap price, but I refused," Zhang told the Global Times.

But in some cases, manufacturing fake goods has become an important part of local Chinese economies.

The "fake shoes market" is an invisible pillar of the local economy in Putian, East China's Fujian Province.

Despite efforts by the local government to crack down on it, the market never disappears, with its products sold and distributed to every corner of the country.

In each store, there are famous brand names like Adidas, Nike and New Balance on every shelf.

Some vendors also pretend to have real stores in the U.S. to deceive buyers into thinking they are buying real shoes from abroad.

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