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Friday, September 30, 2016, 18:23

Customs vow crackdown on retail cheats over 'Golden Week'


HONG KONG – A special operation against unfair trade practices in retail shops popular with the tourists – including pharmacies and jewelry shops – will be carried out during the National Day holiday in the city, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department said on Friday.

The so-called Golden Week holiday – lasting seven days on the mainland – is a typical busy season for the SAR’s tourism industry which will see mainland visitors flocking into the city for shopping and sightseeing.

The special operation will include sting operations in pharmacies, establishing special squads to handle complaints over unfair trade practices, and distributing flyers in popular shopping spots to promote smart shopping, said Kwan Kin-keung, head of the Unfair Trade Practice Investigation Group of the customs.

Kwan also noted that in the first eight months of 2016 the customs received 121 complaints against drugstores which sold knock-off products that allude to particular trademarks – a decrease of 36 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

He warned consumers, especially visitors to the city, to pay extra attention to the brands and packages of the products they are going to buy.

Lau Oi-kwok, chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Pharmacy, told RTHK that drugs that with brand names and packages similar to certain household brands come at cheaper prices but are often sold at similar prices to the popular brands. He further expressed his doubts over the therapeutic effects of such drugs.

The Trade Descriptions Ordinance was introduced in 2013 to protect customers from false trade descriptions, as well as false, misleading or incomplete information, and misstatements in respect of goods provided in the course of trade.

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