Go to main content
Hong Kong Customs conducts enforcement action against online shop suspected of supplying face masks with false trade description
     Hong Kong Customs yesterday (March 29) arrested a male director of a trading company suspected of supplying face masks with a false trade description, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

     Customs earlier received information alleging that a website was suspected of selling face masks with a fraudulent claim that the place of origin was Hong Kong. After investigation, Customs officers found that the face masks were in fact manufactured on the Mainland, which was inconsistent with the claim. Customs officers then mounted an enforcement operation yesterday and raided the trading company operating the website concerned. A 28-year-old male director of the company was arrested.

     An investigation is ongoing and the arrested man has been released on bail pending further investigation.

     Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO. Consumers should procure products at reputable shops and should be cautious with online shopping. They should contact trademark owners or traders for enquiries in case of doubt. 

     Customs has all along been concerned about illegal online sales activities, and appeals to consumers that they should stay vigilant in regard to online shopping and observe the following tips:
  • Do shopping at online stores that are familiar to oneself;
  • Do not purchase items of unknown sources and unusual prices offered on suspicious websites or social media platforms;
  • Shopping on secured websites can reduce the risk of personal data leakage;
  • Inspect company information of the online stores, especially the date of establishment and the credit rating;
  • Beware of whether the online payment methods provided by the online stores are secured, for example, by transferring payments to the sellers' bank accounts;
  • Buyers will not be able to inspect the goods before making a deal and the transaction risks will be increased if sellers can only deliver the goods by mail or courier, but not face-to-face delivery;
  • Pay attention to whether refund arrangements are available as well as the policies; and
  • Keep the transaction receipts and related documents, which can become the basic information in case a complaint is lodged in the future.

     Under the TDO, any person who applies a false trade description to any goods or supplies goods with a false trade description in the course of trade or business commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

     Members of the public may report any suspected violation of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).
Ends/Thursday, March 30, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:15
Today's Press Releases