Preventing contraband and counterfeit goods in cyberspace

VCN – Through advertising goods on cyberspace, competent forces inspected and discovered many business addresses selling infringing goods, even many warehouses storing infringing goods.
HCM City Market Surveillance force check violated shipment on origin and label. Photo: L.T
HCM City Market Surveillance force check violated shipment on origin and label. Photo: L.T

Selling the whole warehouse of infringing goods online

Taking advantage of the development of e-commerce, some online business entities have taken advantage of people’s consumption demand to bring low-quality goods, goods of unknown origin, and smuggled goods to sell for profiteering.

Recently, on February 16, 2023, the HCM City Market Surveillance Department inspected and discovered that two business locations located in Go Vap district (HCM City) stored and traded tens of thousands of products showing signs of being smuggled, goods of unknown origin, and goods with signs of counterfeiting of trademarks.

In particular, at the business located at 227/25 Nguyen Tu Gian, ward 12, Go Vap district, Market Surveillance Team No. 2 discovered and seized more than 6,000 products that were Singapore green oil, spa scrubs, grapefruit conditioner, Bach Ngoc Lien body cream, French face cream, French body cream, and makeup remover.

According to the value listed on the online market, the shipment has a total value of nearly VND 1.2 billion. At the business location (address: 284/1 Pham Van Chieu, ward 9, Go Vap district), another working group of Market Surveillance Team No. 2 seized nearly 340 boxes of goods with a total quantity of over 30,000 products of cosmetics, perfume, sunscreen spray M'AYCREATE. The shipment had a total value of over VND 738 million.

At the time of inspection, the market surveillance force of HCM City identified the owner of the above shipments as Ngo Thai H. (was born in 1994, residing in Tan Hung, Long An). Initially, the competent forces identified that all goods at the two business locations mentioned above showed signs of being smuggled, goods of unknown origin, and goods with signs of counterfeiting trademarks. Notably, all goods are mainly traded on e-commerce platforms, without stores as well as carrying out legal business registration procedures.

Besides the two warehouses storing contraband mentioned above, on February 2, in the area adjacent to HCM City, Dong Nai Police chaired and coordinated with Dong Nai Market Surveillance Department to inspect the L.K. store selling motorcycle spare parts (located at Xuan Trung Ward, Long Khanh City), owed by B.M.T. As a result, competent force discovered 15 boxes and sacks with wheel braces, and shock absorbers (all motorcycle parts) of unknown origin.

After checking the store's warehouse at Bao Vinh Ward (Long Khanh City), where B.M.T. sells goods online, the inter-sector force also discovered and temporarily seized 60 more boxes and bags of motorcycle parts of unknown origin. In the last three months, Dong Nai's competent forces have detected and handled 14 cases of trading in smuggled goods and goods of unknown origin, including many online shops. Exhibits confiscated and destroyed include nearly 6,000 clothes, dresses and skirts; more than 400 pairs of shoes, sandals and clogs; four cases of Chivas brand wine, and eight cases of foreign brand perfume.

Overcoming barriers

Competent authorities have strengthened the fight against smuggling, trading of banned goods, counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin, and trade fraud in e-commerce. They have detected hundreds of cases of violations. For example, setting up an e-commerce website for sales without notifying to state management agency; failing to provide customers with sufficient information about the individual or organization that owns the website; forging information of other traders, organizations and individuals to participate in e-commerce activities; especially providing information, trading or selling fake goods, goods and services that infringe intellectual property rights or goods and services banned from doing business on the internet environment.

To consume counterfeit goods and goods of unknown origin, business subjects doing business via social networks have forged, and created codes and barcodes to identify the origin of goods or copied codes and barcodes of groups of similar goods then pasted them on products and gathered them in warehouses. In addition, the subject also mixed genuine goods with fake goods, goods of clear origin with goods of unknown origin in order to sell to customers.

According to the General Department of Market Surveillance, currently, consumers tend to shop on social networks and e-commerce sites. Therefore, the smugglers would take advantage of cyberspace to operate.

However, one of the biggest barriers to the management of e-commerce business is that the rate of individuals and organizations registering and notifying in accordance with regulations when participating is still very low, and many arising issues have not been well managed. In addition, it is very difficult to handle violations for fraudulent businesses. Social networking sites do not provide addresses or provide incorrect addresses, even though many addresses are residential houses or apartments. Most of the subjects use software such as facebook, zalo thus competent authorities have faced many difficulties in determining the nature, scale, address, and infringing goods.

In order to strengthen the management and supervision of goods in the internet environment, to create trust for consumers in online shopping activities, the competent forces, in which the Market Surveillance is chaired, have promoted coordination between relevant agencies in inspecting, controlling activities of taking advantage of e-commerce to trade in fake and imitation goods.

Especially, coordinating with units selling domain names and providing server, banking, telecommunications, and delivery services in verifying objects to check and handle violations. Along with that, strictly controlling the flow of goods with invoices and documents delivered by express delivery service, freight forwarding units, gathering at warehouses, and inland ports.

In 2022, related to violations of goods trading in cyberspace, the market surveillance force in the whole country inspected 774 cases, handled 439 cases, and fined nearly VND 5.9 billion, the value of infringing goods was nearly VND11.5 billion; transferring case files of two cases to the investigation police agency.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy

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