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August 20, 2009

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Man detained over high-end counterfeit jewelry sold online

CITY police are hailing the detention of a 33-year-old man who allegedly sold fake jewelry with upmarket brands via the Internet as a breakthrough case.

Huangpu District officers said yesterday that it is a successful action of its kind in Shanghai as online fraud is so difficult to crack.

The suspect, Kuang Liou, earned more than 1.73 million yuan (US$253,109) from selling bogus jewelry carrying famous brands, such as Cartier, Gucci and Tiffany, from June 2008 to June 2009, police said.

Officers said if the articles were genuine they would have been worth more than 10 million yuan.

On August 6, police seized Kuang in his office in Huangpu District.

Police also raided his home and found dozens of items of fake jewelry packed and waiting to be delivered to buyers.

Police estimated that Kuang had made at least 5 million yuan over the past four years.

He spent most of the money buying shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, police said.

Kuang began online transactions on in 2005, selling counterfeit goods, mostly jewelry, officers said.

He also made fake certification for items he sold and had the jewelry processed in Shenzhen City of southern China's Guangdong Province, an officer surnamed Chen said yesterday.

"The jewelry had fine workmanship and looked like the real item," he said.

City police officers contacted the management of Cartier's Shanghai branch after they were tipped off early in June.

"Cartier did not authorize anyone to sell any products on the Internet and the jewelry sold online was fake," said Cartier in a statement issued on June 11.

Police said Taobao helped to locate and track the transaction records of the suspect when investigators went to Hangzhou, the headquarters of the company, to collect evidence in July.

Taobao and other enterprises providing online shopping service have long been criticized for contributing to a flourishing trade in counterfeit goods.

"There is no law enforcing the company to check whether each sold item is genuine or not," said an officer surnamed Lai. "It is difficult for us to detect and track everything sold on the Internet."

Taobao has about 120 million registered users and about 300 million product listings.

Police said yesterday that they were still hunting processors of the jewelry in Shenzhen City.


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