15 individuals sentenced to prison for operating counterfeit SK-II production linked to pig farm in Wenzhou

577

17th May 2024 – (Wenzhou) In January of last year, the Market Supervision Bureau of Ouhai District in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, received a report regarding a citizen who had purchased a bottle of counterfeit SK-II facial cream at a low price from an e-commerce livestream. After using the product, the individual experienced severe skin irritation. Upon investigation, it was revealed that the so-called reputable skincare product was actually being manufactured inside a factory located within a pig farm.

According to a report by “The Paper,” on January 3rd of last year, the Market Supervision Bureau of Ouhai District received a report from Mr. Liu. He claimed that he had purchased a bottle of “SK-II” facial cream for 29.9 yuan (RMB) from a livestream hosted by “Rich Lady XX” on a certain e-commerce platform. After using the product, he experienced allergic reactions on his skin. Following this report, law enforcement officials uncovered a major case involving the rampant sale of counterfeit goods through livestreaming platforms. They immediately launched an investigation in collaboration with the local public security department.

It was found that the counterfeit facial cream purchased by Mr. Liu originated from a company owned by a person named Dai. Starting from March 2022, Dai, due to poor business operations, decided to profit by selling counterfeit cosmetics through livestreaming. She hired Wang as the anchor and Wen to handle operations. Through online livestreaming, they sold counterfeit cosmetics bearing registered trademarks of well-known brands such as SK-II, Lancôme, Kiehl’s, and Chanel.

The counterfeit cosmetics sold in the livestreams not only covered a wide range of product categories but also closely resembled the genuine products in terms of appearance, texture, and even scent, making it difficult for customers to distinguish between the real and fake items. In order to avoid legal risks and spread out the volume of return orders, Dai and her associates opened six livestream stores within a year. By the time the case was exposed, these six stores had collectively sold over 29,000 counterfeit cosmetics, with a total sales revenue of more than 760,000 yuan.

Further investigation conducted by the Market Supervision Bureau of Ouhai District and the Food and Drug Environmental Protection Team of the local public security sub-bureau revealed an organized criminal syndicate and multiple counterfeit production bases involved in the entire process of production, supply, and sales. A total of 5 tons of counterfeit goods were seized, with an estimated value exceeding 50 million yuan.

According to the investigation, middlemen procured goods from the counterfeit production bases and supplied them to multiple livestream sellers engaged in selling counterfeit products. Dai admitted that the cost price of these counterfeit cosmetics ranged from a few yuan to a dozen yuan, while they were sold for several tens of yuan.

One of the counterfeit production bases was discovered hidden deep within a remote mountain area in Guilin, Guangxi. The person in charge of the pig farm set up makeshift production facilities and utilized a facial mask machine and a filling machine to mix chemical ingredients with a thickening agent, creating a transparent liquid that was then packaged as facial masks, bearing the labels of internationally renowned brands such as SK-II and La Mer.

Recently, the local court held a trial and sentenced Dai and 15 others to imprisonment for a period ranging from 1 to 3 years for the crime of selling counterfeit goods bearing registered trademarks. The total fines amounted to 700,000 yuan.