13th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Customs made a clarification again today that it has never arranged a public auction by means of a website or a social media platform to sell confiscated items. The department reminds members of the public to be alert and avoid being scammed.
Customs recently again noticed five websites (see Annex), which were registered in the United States, Singapore and Korea which falsely claimed that Hong Kong Customs was making arrangements for selling confiscated items by means of public auction. The hyperlink of one of the websites even appeared on a dedicated page under the name of “中創特賣商城” on the Facebook platform.
Customs officers found that similar contents were published by lawbreakers on newly opened websites and social media platform pages. The public should stay alert since similar websites and social media platform pages will probably emerge again in the future.
Customs said that the above-mentioned five websites conveyed false information that conspired to mislead members of the public. Customs also suspects intellectual property right infringement, and noted that there may be offences under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) and Copyright Ordinance (CO) of Hong Kong.
Customs has already requested the social media platform’s operator to remove the hyperlink as soon as possible. The department will also contact INTERPOL for follow-up action.
Once again, Customs reiterates that confiscated items of all types will be handled strictly in accordance with established guidelines upon the completion of legal procedures. Items suitable for placing on public auction will be co-ordinated and handled exclusively by the government department concerned in Hong Kong. The department never works with any external individuals or bodies to hold a public auction.
Customs stresses that it has all along been concerned with illegal online sales activities. It has strived to combat unfair trade practices and infringing activities on websites. It also maintains close co-operation with law enforcement authorities of other countries and regions to combat cross-boundary infringing activities and protect the rights of consumers and legitimate traders.