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Silk Street Market Makes Entrapment Claim
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Beijing's Silk Street Market accused five international fashion companies of entrapment during a court hearing in the capital yesterday, saying the companies sent people to the market specifically to buy fake goods.

Late last year, the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court ordered the market to pay compensation of 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) to the five companies who own the Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Chanel brands for selling fakes.

The market's owners appealed to the Beijing High People's Court. The first appeal hearing was held yesterday.

Market manager Wang Zili said yesterday that the five companies maliciously induced market vendors to sell them fake products.

"There was no open sale of pirated goods at the market," he said.

Wang said the market is not responsible if fake goods are sold under the counter, because the market cannot supervise all of its traders all the time.

It regularly checks products in the outlets and at warehouses, but the market cannot prevent secret or personal trade of fake products, he said.

Wang Yadong, a lawyer representing the five companies, denied the market's charge of "malicious behavior."

"Silk Street Market failed to provide any evidence to prove its charge during the court trial," he said.

But Wang Zili said the market is gathering evidence of entrapment against the five companies.

The market is planning to sue the five companies for damaging its reputation by alleging that fake prestige brands are sold openly there, he said.

Last November, the companies sued the market and its outlets for allegedly selling product fakes and demanded 2.5 million yuan (US$310,000) in compensation.

Silk Street Market, which rents space to more than 1,500 vendors, is a shopping hotspot for foreigners in Beijing.

(China Daily April 7, 2006)

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