Five key members of a gang suspected of making and selling illegal tobacco processing machines have been charged with illegal business conduct, Jiading District People's Procuratorate said.
Prosecutors said the chief suspect, surnamed Qu, rented two warehouses in Jiading as workshops and hired workers to produce tobacco manufacturing machines without getting an approval from the local tobacco authority.
They were sold through a man surnamed Guo around the country, including Fujian Province and Taiwan.
The operation was discovered by police on July 12 last year, when officers seized two machines from a truck heading to Zhangzhou which they had stopped at a checkpoint in Quanzhou, Fujian Province.
The driver, Li, was taken back to Shanghai and the machines were confirmed as inferior tobacco manufacturing machines.
Li's employer, Qu was captured by police on the same day.
Qu told police that he had rented the two warehouses for producing machine parts but the business didn't work out.
Later he learned from others that making tobacco manufacturing machines was profitable.
He bought materials from provinces such as Zhejiang and Sichuan and recruited several workers, including Xia, Liu, Wu and Pei for producing the machines.
The machines were later sold through Qu's friend, Guo.
Between February and June last year, they sold five machines for 2.2 million yuan (7,400) in Yunxiao and Xiamen cities in Fujian, and also in Taiwan. Guo got at most 10,000 yuan from a single deal.