Police capture fake Apple gang

Updated: 2011-04-01 07:41

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Police said on Thursday that they have broken a gang of six people who sold fake iPhone4s, iPads and other electronic products worth more than 5 million yuan ($764,000).

The fake electronic products, with almost the exact look of the authentic ones produced by Apple Inc, were mostly priced for less than 1,000 yuan each in a market in Shanghai since December 2010, police said.

Four of the gang members, who were arrested during a campaign to protect intellectual property rights, stood trial in early March and will hear their verdicts soon.

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Police were tipped off that several electronic device retailers in a market on Qipu Road had been selling fake products. Police traced the sources of the fake items and discovered the counterfeit products came from two residents, a brother and sister, living on Qipu Road.

A team set up to investigate the case launched a surprise check on Dec 14, 2010, and took away the brother and sister and four other gang members.

As many as 4,466 fake electronic products with a total value of more than 5 million yuan were seized. The fake items included phones, laptops and memory cards, half of which resembled Apple products.

According to the economic crime investigation corps of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, the fake products were produced in China.

However, one could not tell the difference between the fake Apple products and the authentic ones just by their appearance. A person had to use the devices, which were installed with a different system to Apple products, the police said.

Apple products, especially iPads and iPhones, are popular among Shanghai consumers, some of whom have to wait more than two weeks for certain new products.

Those unwilling to wait that long may shift to online shops to try to get the new device before others, but some ended up getting fake products, said Liu Bao, an online electronic device retailer.

Others who bought fake products knew that for such a low price the items would be counterfeit, but they went ahead because they could not afford genuine ones, he said.

Tang Xiliang, vice-director of the economic crime investigation corps of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, suggested that residents need to identify fake goods, resist buying them and report them to the police.

Shanghai police have cracked 150 gangs involved in 356 cases of infringement and selling counterfeit goods since Oct 19, 2010, during a campaign to protect intellectual property. A total of 777 suspects have been detained.


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