Three days after a pair of jewelry stores supposedly owned by Hong Kong investors set up shop in Shanghai, they were shut down by city officials on Thursday afternoon for selling fake gold and jewels.
The Hong Kong Heng-sheng Jewelry Store set up stores on Wuning Road in Putuo District and Changli Road in Pudong District earlier this week, offering amazing deals on gold and platinum necklaces and bracelets and emeralds.
"At first, experts thought the jewelry was gold or platinum plated," said Lao Jianhong, of the Shanghai Consumers' Association. After examining them, however, they realized the goods were just cheap knock-offs.
The owner of the stores, which claimed to be affiliated with Hong Kong's Hengsheng Jewelry International Group - a fictitious company invented to give the new shops credibility, was interviewed by police, but has since disappeared. Police haven't released his name.
Authorities said the owner confessed that he bought cheap necklaces from the Zhejiang Yiwu Small Commodities Market and relabeled them as 18 karat gold, selling them for 1,180 yuan (US$142) each.
Inspectors also found "emerald" bracelets selling for 240 yuan that were actually made of cheap Serpentine jade valued at no more than 10 yuan.
Some shoppers said they were fooled by the store's expensive-looking interior design and fake certificates.
"The store claimed to be part of a Hong Kong company and it looks so elegant with a large area and thousands of jewels," said one shopper. "Besides, the goods also have certificates, and the store promises refunds and exchanges to unhappy customers."
Inspectors said the Shanghainese owner told them he had plans to open several new stores around the city, but he wasn't expecting to stay open for long. He hoped to close down before Spring Festival and make off with his ill-gotten loot.
The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau is still investigating the case, and has confiscated all of the store's fake jewels.
"Consumers who have been cheated can come to the bureau and have their names registered," said bureau Director Yuan Beijun. "We will return the money to them when the case is resolved."
(eastday.com.cn September 28, 2002)