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Hong Kong Customs combats unfair trade practices at medicine shop
     ​Hong Kong Customs today (November 30) arrested three salespersons of a medicine shop suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices for making misleading omissions and using aggressive commercial practices in the course of selling Chinese medicine, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

     Customs earlier received information alleging that three salespersons of a medicine shop in Causeway Bay were suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices to coerce customers into purchasing Chinese medicine. Upon investigations, Customs revealed that a salesperson of the medicine shop concerned provided untimely material information, including the unit price and the total price of the goods, in the course of the sale of a Chinese medicine to a customer. The salesperson, together with another two salespersons, also stopped the customer from leaving the shop and coerced the victim into purchasing the Chinese medicine by saying the Chinese medicine was already ground. Eventually, the customer was coerced to purchase the Chinese medicine at exorbitant prices, which were over 200 times different from what was expected. 

     Customs today took enforcement action and arrested three salesmen, aged between 31 and 44, suspected to be connected with the case at the medicine shop concerned. During the operation, a batch of suspected Part 1 poison, in contravention of the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance, was also found by Customs officers at the same time.

     An investigation is ongoing and the three arrested men have been released on bail pending further investigation.

     Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO and consumers to purchase products from reputable shops. Consumers should also be cautious about the unit price and ask for more information, including the total price of the goods selected, before making a purchase decision.

     Under the TDO, any trader who engages in a commercial practice that omits or hides material information or provides material information in a manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely, and as a result causes, or is likely to cause, an average consumer to make a transactional decision, commits an offence of misleading omissions. Also, any trader commits an offence of engaging in aggressive commercial practices if harassment, coercion or undue influence is used to impair a consumer's freedom of choice or conduct, causing the consumer to make a transactional decision. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

     Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:25
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