CHINESE POLICE BUSTED COUNTERFEIT RING ALLEGEDLY SHIFTED USD20MN FAKE PENFOLDS
By Tony Zhu
Source: Guangzhou Police
Police in China has cracked down on a nation-wide fake wine gang which has allegedly produced RMB130million (USD20mn) worth of fake Penfolds wine and sold through e-commerce platforms. A total of 30 suspects were arrested in 9 locations spanning several provinces, and investigation is still on-going.
The ring leader was believed to have been arrested during the operation. Chinese media reports said he has confessed to have counterfeited and sold fake Penfolds online sine July 2017.
He and his accomplices were said to have set up companies to sell wines on e-commerce platforms. Their tactic was to list expensive fake labels among other cheaper genuine labels.
They were said to have used cheap wines worth RMB50 to RMB200, counterfeit as Penfolds and resell them for as high as RMB4800.
The fake bottles were said to come with anti-counterfeit stickers as well as forged invoices and certificates.
Police believed the ring has shifted RMB130mn worth of fake Penfolds before the crackdown.
According to Chinese media reports, investigation was started in June last year when police were tipped off by suspicious wine merchants who reported that some vendors were selling Penfolds wines online at prices 30% under market price.
After investigating the contents of the advertised wines, it was decided that they were fakes. Police in southern Guangzhou city soon raided an address and found RMB2mn worth of fake wines. Four suspects were arrested including a 27-year-old man who confessed that he started selling fake wines online from February last year.
Further investigations led to the nation-wide crackdown when 9 locations in Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Yunnan and Guangxi provinces were being raided and 30 suspects arrested. Chinese media said investigation is still on-going.
Penfolds is the most sought-after fine wine label in China and a popular counterfeit target. In 2018, Chinese police uncovered 50,000 bottles of the fake Penfolds worth about RMB18mn in Zhengzhou city.
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