Chinese gang jailed for counterfeit scam
A gang of Chinese rogue traders caught operating in the County Borough have been imprisoned and face deportation following a successful prosecution by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Trading Standards team.
Cardiff Crown Court heard how the Council responded to a complaint from a member of the public regarding the sale of counterfeit tobacco in the Hendreforgan area of Gilfach Goch by two individuals.
Officers caught Biao He, aged 47 and his girlfriend Yun Shi, aged 39 both of Ninian Park Road, Cardiff in their vehicle during a visit to the area. The vehicle was subsequently searched and officers discovered 269 counterfeit DVD films, 37 counterfeit pornographic films, and illegally packaged tobacco amounting to 260 50g pouches of Golden Virginia, 186 50g pouches of Amber Leaf and £212 cash.
Trading Standards Officers and South Wales Police searched the defendant’s property in Cardiff where three further individuals, Dong Chen, aged 42, Tong Yu, aged 19 and Fang Wu, aged 43, were also arrested for being part of the illegal enterprise.
In total 1206 50g pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco, 396 50g pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco, 137kg of loose tobacco, 4767 empty Amber Leaf pouches, 696 empty Golden Virginia pouches, 862 empty Cutters Choice were seized along with packaging equipment and 859 DVD films and 154 pornographic films from the property.
All five defendants were remanded in custody until the hearing at Cardiff Crown Court before Judge Gaskell.
At the hearing Biao He - who was recognised as the more active member of the gang - pleaded guilty to conspiring with his co-defendants to selling counterfeit goods and sentenced to 14 months imprisonment. Half of his sentence will be served in custody, before being released on licence.
Dong Chen, who had only been living at the property for three weeks prior to his arrest, pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell unclassified pornography. He admitted to assisting with the stockpiling of pornographic films in return for accommodation, use of electricity and food. He was subsequently imprisoned for eight months and the UK Border Agency are in the process of deporting him to China.
Yun Shi also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply counterfeit tobacco, and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, serving half in prison and the rest in service to the community.
The court heard how Tong Yu, who came to the UK on a visa from school after his family were killed in an earthquake in China, pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell counterfeit tobacco. Judge Gaskell recognised his struggle to survive and the reason he became involved in this criminal enterprise. He was sentenced to 12 months detention in Young Offenders Institute before facing deportation.
Finally Fang Wu also pleaded guilty to conspiring with co-defendants to selling counterfeit tobacco and she was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment before facing deportation to China.
In summing up, the Judge directed the sum of £4,051 recovered from the enterprise be made forfeit to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. The Judge also directed that the seized vehicle be subject to a confiscation order and said that all paraphernalia seized was to be destroyed with the exception of the defendants' mobile phones and computers which could be returned.
David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This is the latest in a series of successful prosecutions against those who peddle counterfeit goods for sale within our communities.
“This sustained, zero-tolerance campaign, which is based on vital information received from our communities and calls for action received from our residents, will continue.
“Counterfeit goods damage the legitimate traders who operate in a legal manner and we will do all in our power to eradicate this type of crime from our streets.”
For further information contact:
Dean Powell, Media Liaison Officer
Telephone: 01443 424153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 22 April 2013