SINGAPORE: A couple who made profits of up to S$70,000 selling fake branded goods from China to consumers in Singapore, and was found dumping the counterfeit items down the rubbish chute when the police turned up, was given jail on Monday (Feb 8).
Li Shun, a 29-year-old China national and Singapore permanent resident, was given 11 weeks' jail for three charges including abetting the obstruction of justice by asking his wife to dump the goods as well as the importation and possession of fake branded items for sale. Another six charges were taken into consideration.
His wife, 35-year-old Lim Seow Seow, was given 25 days' jail for similar charges. Li was allowed to begin serving his sentence on Feb 15, after Chinese New Year, while his wife - who is pregnant - will begin her jail term on Apr 13.
The couple had begun selling legitimate goods on the online marketplace Qoo10, with Li using his wife's details to set up a business after she obtained Singapore permanent residency.
About two years later, Li began selling counterfeit branded goods from suppliers in Guangzhou, China, and his business started flourishing. He branched out to selling counterfeit skincare products in June 2019, with his wife helping to order the products and track shipments.
They sold fake items advertising as branded goods from Longchamp, Adidas and Kipling, as well as skincare products supposedly from Lancome and Estee Lauder.
Between 2015 and October 2019, the couple made a total profit of about S$60,000 to S$70,000 selling counterfeit goods, or about S$4,000 to S$5,000 per month.
Singapore Customs informed the police about the importation of suspected counterfeit goods from China, and the police went to the couple's flat on the morning of Oct 16, 2019.
Not recognising who was at the door, Lim called her husband, who told her not to open it and instead to dispose the goods they had down their rubbish chute.
Lim opened the door only when her husband returned home, and they both later admitted that Lim had thrown away the items. The police found 20 counterfeit bags when they dug through the rubbish, as well as four bottles of counterfeit skincare products sealed in mailbags with buyers' addresses on them.
Another raid uncovered 42 more bags imitating brands like Marc Jacobs and Longchamp in a warehouse at the airport, more than 50 bags in their car, and almost 30 bags in a storage facility.
The judge noted that there were a total of 128 fake goods across the charges, but also considered that compensation had been made.
The penalty for obstructing the course of justice is a maximum jail term of seven years, a fine, or both. It is the same for someone who abets such an offence.
For possessing or importing counterfeit goods for sale, they could have been jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$100,000, or both.