Taoyuan police this week raided several locations and busted an illegal business operated by Chinese selling bogus Apple Inc iPhones.
“We busted a criminal operation that involved groups in Taiwan and China working together. They sold pirated versions of iPhones and iPhone parts,” said Lin Chih-ming (林志明), captain of the Second Police Special Corps of National Police Agency.
Police found “ more than 3,000 fake handsets and related products with an estimated value of about NT$10 million [US$324,929],” Lin said.
Photo copied by Hsu Kuo-chen, Taipei Times
Police have arrested a Chinese man surnamed Li (李), 22, and several other Chinese, along with three Taiwanese women suspected of working with the group, Lin added.
Investigators suspect that the group’s operations were based in China’s Hubei Province, as the Chinese suspects are all from Hubei, police said.
During questioning they said that they had entered Taiwan under the pretense of undergoing cosmetic surgery, which grants them a 15-day stay, police said.
Photo: Hsu Kuo-chen, Taipei Times
“We believe that this is a seasoned criminal operation, with the group’s ringleaders in Hubei, running the fake iPhone business in Taiwan. The Chinese suspects applied for visas in successive groups on the pretext of undergoing cosmetic surgery, and were replaced with another group after 15 days, when their visas ran out,” Lin said.
Police confiscated 135 iPhones and 44 Samsung handsets at a shop run by the group, along with smartphone components, which Lin said were all found to be counterfeit products made in China.
Meanwhile, police officers raiding a warehouse found a total of 3,847 assorted items, including iPhone and Samsung handsets, power adapters, earphones and other accessories, which were all found to be pirated products, Lin said.
The Chinese suspects also ran online ads to sell the fake devices and parts on auction platforms popular among Taiwanese, police said.
A accounting ledger seized by police showed that the group has made an average of about NT$2 million per month since May last year.
The group advertised the fake handsets as second-hand smartphones in good condition, demonstration kits or devices left over from special promotions, and priced them at about 10 percent off the market price, or a discount of about NT$2,000 to NT$5,000 per handset, Lin said.
Police said they have questioned all the suspects, adding that the three Taiwanese said they were hired to sell the devices and denied knowledge of the products’ origins.
The investigation is ongoing, police added.
Prosecutors said that they intend to charge the ring members with contravening the Trademark Act (商標法).
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