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Police Crack 6,700 IPR Violation Cases in 5 Years
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More than 6,700 intellectual property rights (IPR) violation cases involving 3.5 billion yuan (US$432 million) were settled in the past five years, according to the 2006 China Forum on Criminal IP Protection, which opened in Shanghai on Friday.


In addition, about 9,300 suspects were caught, and many regional and international criminal networks were destroyed.


More than 200 delegates from Chinese and foreign law enforcement agencies including Interpol and business communities are attending the two-day forum.


The forum focuses on the strategic fight against IPR violations and the experience of the Chinese police in combating such crimes. Enhancing international cooperation and building partnerships between the government and industries are also on the agenda.


The forum is sponsored by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the State Office of Intellectual Property Protection.


"IPR protection plays an essential role in economic development. But IPR crimes are becoming more professional and well organized," said Zheng Shaodong, an assistant to the minister of public security.


Thus it is vital for law enforcement agencies worldwide to strengthen their cooperation on this issue, he said.


"The forum provides such a platform for international cooperation," he said.


Gao Feng, deputy director-general of MPS' Economic Crime Investigation Department, described IPR crime as "economic narcotics."


"It's not a Chinese problem, it is a global issue. Cooperation is the only efficient way to fight such crimes," he said.


The total amount of counterfeit goods worldwide accounts for 5 to 7 percent of annual global production. More than 10 percent of medicines are fake, while the figure is 25 percent in developing countries, said Gao.


According to Zheng, China has established a sound system of laws and regulations for IPR protection.


The government is also doing its utmost to raise public awareness of IPR protection.


Major cases


Police authorities yesterday also released the following list of major IPR cases from 2004-05:


In December 2004, Tang Guanglie and 24 other suspects were arrested by Sichuan police for making and selling counterfeit liquor Wuliangye worth 2.4 million yuan (US$300,000).


Last February, Shanghai police cracked a case of fake vehicle spare parts involving 20 million yuan (US$2.46 million).


Last March, Jiangsu police uncovered a gang producing counterfeit brand cosmetics worth US$2 million.


Last March, Shanghai police busted a gang selling counterfeit Zhonghua cigarettes. More than 70 outlets were shut down. Zhang Tingqun, head of the gang, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and fined 32 million yuan (US$4 million).


Last June, Tianjin and Hebei police unearthed a gang producing and selling fake medicine via the Internet. The fake medicine was worth 1.7 million yuan (US$210,000).


Last September, Tianjin and Henan police cooperated with US police to crack a cross-border operation manufacturing and selling fake medicines. Five manufacturing bases in Washington, Tianjin and Henan were destroyed. The estimated market value is about 40 million yuan (US$4.9 million).


(China Daily April 1, 2006)

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