Customs officers seize HK$11 million worth counterfeit goods in Hong Kong

January 29, 2019 | Brainwave Science

 

SITUATION

Customs officers arrested three Hong Kong nationals during a raid for running a syndicate that sold counterfeit luxury goods like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton handbags and other accessories. The agents seized approximately HK $11 million (the US $1.4 million) worth of fake luxury goods.

Hong Kong Police officer reported it was the biggest seizure of its kind in a decade and was the first time a crime syndicate that sold counterfeit goods to domestic workers had been broken up. The head of the Intellectual Property Investigation group at the Customs and Excise Department, Superintendent Guy Fong Wing-Kai, inform the reporters that the haul is the biggest seizure of its kind, considering the value of the goods, in a decade.

According to authorities, initial investigation discloses that the syndicate was operated by three Hong Kong Nationals- one man and two women- who recruited two foreign domestic helpers to work in its showroom in Sham Shui Po. During the raid, the customs officers found some 18,000 fake products, including handbags, wallets and sports shoes bearing famous brand tags such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Nike, in the showroom and storage rooms.  The two foreign domestic helpers, who were employed by the syndicate, were also arrested.

Customs officers began investigating the gang after receiving intelligence about the operation of counterfeit goods two months ago.

Fong said the syndicate worked in a sophisticated way to avoid any red flags or detection, the showroom only served foreign domestic helpers and no locals were allowed to enter inside.

CHALLENGE

Counterfeiting has become one of the greatest challenges faced by the law enforcement agencies around the globe as these crimes represent a growing economic and social crisis. According to The Global Brand Counterfeiting Report, the amount of total counterfeiting globally has reached 1.2 Trillion USD. The worst thing is that counterfeit trade volumes are exploding, irrespective of all the efforts taken by government and law enforcement agencies to defeat such activities.

According to Europol, Hong Kong and China are solely responsible for more than 86 percent of the world’s counterfeit goods. Hong Kong, infamous as the city of fakes, is infected with various syndicates that specialize in various scams including counterfeiting. Recently, Hong Kong police arrested 14 members of fraud syndicate for operating Hong Kong’s biggest ever bullion trading scam. Such recurring incident questions the capability of law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong.

Counterfeiting or investment fraud scam cases tend to be the most complex ones to solve. As the only channel to recognize such counterfeiting goods and scam is through prior complaints and in most of the cases, victims or suspects aren’t cooperative enough to provide reliable information necessary to crush the syndicates, leaving the investigation in a dilemma.

Even in this counterfeiting case, law enforcement came across various difficulties during the investigation. According to Superintendent Guy Fong, Customs officers have used a lot of different methods to conduct surveillance during the investigation, in order to gain crime-related information but the challenge was the showroom was only available to foreign domestic helpers, therefore limited evidence and intelligence were available.

WHY ICOGNATIVE?

Globalization comes to the world as a boon and also comes with a cost. The growth in global trade and technology has positively affected many markets across the world but along with that, it has some major adverse effects as well. Hong Kong counterfeiting case is a testament to the fact that law enforcement agencies desperately need to look for alternative methods or processes of investigation that can provide them an upper hand to chase these smart criminals that are adept at using all means available to evade justice. Every second delayed by law enforcement personnel to solve this case and identify the existing counterfeiters would cost Hong Kong’s economy millions.

Superintendent Guy Fong expressed the difficulties face by customs officers and other law enforcement agencies to get crime-related information using different existing conventional investigative tools. The advancements in technology that have been developed are limited in terms of applicability, accuracy, and human biases. It’s essential for agencies to be equipped with tools that provide instant results with the highest accuracy. The world today is in desperate need of a non-intrusive, affordable and efficient technology with nearly perfect accuracy ratings. With iCognative by Brainwave Science that technology has finally arrived. Through iCognative, law enforcement investigators can help identify or exonerate subjects based upon measuring brain-wave response to crime-related pictures, phrases or words displayed on a computer screen. This groundbreaking forensic tool called iCognative has proven over 99 percent accurate – is already being hailed by several law enforcement agencies as one of the era’s most potentially significant breakthroughs.

iCognative is the only technology that guarantees a high success rate and results in such complex cases where mastermind behind such counterfeit schemes remain anonymous. Irrespective of how smart and organized the fraudster is in operating the business, iCognative technology can identify him/her within a short period of time with over 99% accuracy.

How? Simple, this technology is based on the scientifically proven P300 and P300- MERMER brain responses, which accurately determine whether a suspect’s brain possesses specific crime-related information or not by using a non-invasive proprietary headset to record and analyze brainwaves. In this case, a 45-minutes iCognative test when conducted by Hong Kong Customs officers and other law enforcement agencies on arrested suspects would determine what specific crime-related information they possess and /or are trying to conceal from the investigators?  Information such as: how they acquired counterfeit goods, who was the initial contact for these goods, mediums used to communicate, financial details and records, identification of other counterfeit stores, details about location of where they are manufactured, location of counterfeit dump yard, bank account details, identification of mastermind and other members of this syndicate, etc., would be easily available to law enforcement personnel to investigate this case in the right direction once the test is completed.

All the investigative details related to this case and previous counterfeit cases are uploaded into the iCognative system protocol. The system records and analyzes the brain responses when case related known and confidential information (called Stimuli) is flashed to the suspect on a digital screen in the forms of phrases, words or pictures and determine with over 99% accuracy what information the suspect possesses and is trying to conceal from the investigator.

Brainwave Science’s iCognative is the only available neuroscience-based technology that has the capability to solve such complex cases and eliminate such notorious activities from Hong Kong. iCognative is the best and last hope for Hong Kong Law enforcement agencies to protect their economy and erase such syndicates before they could do more harm. Agreed that there may be no way to completely stop crime. But iCognative is an ingenious way to uncover whether a suspect possesses relevant information to solve the crime – or not.

 

Main Source

South China Morning Post