Traders in Beijing's new indoor Silk Market were targeted by inspectors on Monday, who seized hundreds of items in breach of trademark regulations.
Officials from the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce combed the 1,500 stalls before confiscating 119 imitation North Face garments and 100 fake Boss and Gucci shirts.
The traders involved were placed on file for investigation and possible further punishment.
Before moving in to seize goods, plainclothes inspectors were dispatched posing as customers interested in buying designer branded items.
When traders offered them fake products, uniformed officials and representatives from the Jianwai Industry and Commerce Office moved in to seize them.
Li Li, a spokesperson for the industry and commerce administration's Chaoyang branch, said that some traders are not openly displaying fake brands to avoid detection, but keep them hidden until they believe it is safe to show them to customers.
On March 19, the market moved from its previous outdoor location on Jianguomenwai Street to an adjacent purpose built five-floor mall. It has maintained popularity among tourists shopping for fake brand name products.
As the name suggests, the market was initially famous for selling silk clothes and other traditional products, but later gained infamy as an easy place to pick up fake designer brands.
The industry and commerce authority has urged the market's management to step up efforts to exclude those who sell fake brands.
Wu Weishuang, marketing manager of the Beijing Xiushui Haosen Dress Company, responsible for operating the market, said: "Those caught selling fake products for the first time will receive warnings. If they are caught a second time their goods will be seized. If they are caught a third time, they will be ordered to stop trading in the market."
He vowed that Silk Market would no longer be an easy home for bogus goods and insisted that progress had already been made.
"Fake products seized this time make up only 0.3 percent of the market's total stock," he said.
(China Daily, People's Daily March 31, 2005)