U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisiana intercepted 180 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If authentic Cartier, the bracelets would hold a MSRP of more than $2.6 million.
CBP officers inspected the parcel with a packing list specifying “jewelry accessory”. Upon inspection, they found bracelets packaged in Cartier boxes and determined the poor quality bracelets were counterfeit.
As have been previously posted on this blog, Hong Kong is commonly known by CBP to frequently ship counterfeit jewelry such as watches and accessories such as hats. This seizure is the largest (in terms of dollar value) for the entire year.
According to the website insideretail.hk, it Hong Kong Customs authorities seized counterfeit dolls and toys found in “claw machines” as part of “Operation Octopus”. The total seized value of the goods totaled about $38,000 USD.
The article did not specify what type of dolls were counterfeit, but my guess is the stuffed animals were Hello Kitty, Disney or other licensed plush animals. No photo was included in the article – but most likely the word “dolls” here refers to stuffed animals.
HK Customs seized 2700 dolls, 15 claw machines and 5 change machines.
According to a South China Morning Post article, Hong Kong Customs officials investigated and ultimately raided a cell phone repair shop after receiving complaints from a trademark holder (not specified whether Apple or Samsung complained).
The article claimed the repair shop refurbished devices for clients in the US, UK and Australia that sent second-hand phones for repair at 1/3 the typical rate of an authorized repair facility. The repairs typically included replacing the screen or housing.
HK Customs officials claimed the repair shop used counterfeit parts to repair damaged iPhones, and seized over $120,000 worth of fake goods.
Based on the article, I’m pretty sure Apple complained about the IP violations since most Samsung phones do not have the housing replaced when being refurbished. While not listed in the article, the IP violations probably were for the wordmark “iPhone” or the trademark Apple logo found on the back housing. The iPhone replacement glass do not have any IP marks, so the seized goods were most likely the housings.
According to a Financial Times article, US lawmakers of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China introduced a bill that would require the US Secretary of State to certify every year that Hong Kong remains autonomous from China. If there is no certification of that autonomy, Hong Kong would lose trade privileges with the US that do not apply to mainland China.
While the protests in Hong Kong likely lead to Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam to delay passage of the extradition bill, it is unclear whether this bill had any impact on Carrie Lam’s decision.
Hong Kong’s government argues the extradition bill is necessary to close a loophole that allowed criminal fugitives to remain in the territory to avoid criminal prosecution.
Below is a summary in bullet point of news we know about the arrest of Huawei’s CFO as reported by multiple sources:
- Who is Meng Wangzhou?
- 46 year-old global CFO of Huawei
- Daughter of Huawei founder.
- She faces extradition to the US.
- She also goes by Cathy or Sabrina
- When was the arrest?
- December 1, 2018
- The arrest warrant was issued on August 22nd.
- Where did they arrest the CFO?
- The arrest took place in Vancouver’s airport as she traveled from Hong Kong to Mexico.
- Why did they arrest the CFO?
- The arrest stems from 2013 statements made by Meng Wanzhou. In 2013, she told financial institutions Huawei had no connection to a Hong-Kong based company called Skycom.
- Why is Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. under investigation by the US?
- Skycom is suspected of selling Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator.
- There is an embargo in place and selling HP equipment to Iran is in violation of US sanctions.
- Meng’s lawyer claims Huawei already divested itself from Skycom and left the Skycom board.
- US authorities also believe Huawei operated Skycom as an “unofficial subsidiary” to conduct business in Iran.
- Meng previously served on the board of Skycom from February 2008- April 2009 according to Skycom filings with Hong Kong’s Companies Registry.
- Several past Skycom directors may also have connections to Huawei.
- Tell me more about the court case?
- Eastern District of New York.
- US authorities will like allege Meng played a role in fraud by telling banks there was no link between Huawei and Skycom.
- Why arrest the CFO in Canada?
- The US does not have an extradition treaty with China
- Canadian authorities consider her a flight risk because of her wealth.
- What is China’s response?
- The Chinese government has demanded Meng’s immediate release.
- China has asked Ottawa and Washington to clarify their reasons for the detention.
- The arrest has sparked anger on Chinese social media with users calling for boycott of US goods.
- Who is Huawei?
- Huawei was founded in 1987 by Zhengfei Ren, a prominent business figure in China.
- Huawei is the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones (behind Samsung) and one of the world’s largest makers of telecommunication equipment.
- Huawei and ZTE are considered by some US officials as a threat to national security due to the potential for spying on US companies or agencies that use their equipment.
Check back for more news as they develop.
According to Bloomberg – the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended Congress to reassess Hong Kong’s special trading status for sensitive US technology imports. Since 1992, the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 treats Hong Kong as fully autonomous for trade and economic matters even after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. As such, Hong Kong has not been impacted by the current China tariffs and is also supported by the US in the WTO.
The report indicated that Beijing’s actions toward Hong Kong “continue to run counter to China’s promise to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy”. The report further states that President Trump could issue an executive order suspending these privileges to Hong Kong if he believes Hong Kong is not autonomous from Beijing.
If President Trump were to revoke the special trade status with Hong Kong regarding exports of dual-use technology (technology that can be used by consumers and the military) to Hong Kong.
The Bloomberg article quoted Hong Kong legislature member, Felix Chung: “The Western community would look at Hong Kong with different eyes and may not even trust Hong Kong. The business sector cannot take this kind of risk.”
Will follow up with more updates if and when available.