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August 16, 2012

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Ring sold fake French wines

SHANGHAI police said yesterday they busted a ring of six people for producing and selling fake Chateau Lafite, a luxury brand of red wine.

More than 4,000 bottles of fake Chateau Lafite were found in hideouts in the suburban Fengxian and Minhang districts of the city, police said yesterday. They estimated the value of the bust at about 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million).

The Fengxian District police said they received a tip in April this year about the production of fake Chateau Lafite by a small company in the district.

On April 5, the police, working with the industry and commerce department, raided the company at Fengcheng Town and found hundreds of counterfeit labels and caps and a sealing machine. But the primary suspect, surnamed Lei, was not at scene, the police said.

At Lei's hideouts in Fengxian and Minhang districts, police confiscated 1,678 bottles of fake Chateau Lafite and 684 bottles of fake Chateau Margaux, another high-end red wine. Lei was caught near his home.

Police said Lei confessed that, since April 2010, the ring had purchased red wine from Hebei and Shandong provinces and bought caps, labels and packages from Guangdong and Shandong provinces and Shanghai to make fake Chateau Lafite at his company in Fengcheng. The suspects sold the fake wine to buyers in provincial regions of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Guangxi.

Police found another hideout of Lei's and more than 2,000 bottles of fake Chateau Lafite.

The fake French wine was one of nearly 900 infringement cases solved by the city's police this year, said Yang Lieyi, deputy director of the commercial crime department of Shanghai police.

Yang said yesterday that police had detained more than 1,900 suspects in the first seven months for intellectual property crime, and the total value of illicit money and booty reached nearly 300 million yuan (US$47 million). IPC cases related to fake branded clothes, bags and suitcases were still increasing during the past two years despite a series of crackdowns, according to Yang.


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