Customs seizes household products

Customs yesterday seized a total of 8,805 items of 14 models of shower gels, household cleaning detergents and clothing bleach suspected of breaching goods safety laws from various premises of a chain retailing group. One person was arrested.   The product information marked on the packaging failed to bear Chinese and English bilingual warnings or cautions which is suspected to be in contravention of the Consumer Goods Safety Regulation, a subsidiary legislation of the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance.   The estimated market value of the products seized was about $400,000.   Customs earlier received information alleging the sale of the household cleaning detergents at the chain retailer's shops in Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin.   Its officers conducted an investigation and test-purchased 14 models of the products concerned from six retailing shops in Admiralty, Quarry Bay, Mong Kok, Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin.   The department found that the products lacked warnings or cautions in Chinese on their safe keeping, use, consumption or disposal.   Twelve models had warnings or cautions only in Thai, while two models carried Thai and English warnings.   Customs officers yesterday conducted an operation and seized products connected with the case from 25 shops of the chain retailer in Admiralty, Quarry Bay, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, Wong Tai Sin, Diamond Hill, Kowloon City, Ngau Tau Kok, Tsing Yi, Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin, Ma On Shan, Tseung Kwan O, Tai Po, Fanling, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long as well as a storehouse in Tsuen Wan.   The retail price of the products ranged between $6 and $95.   A 33-year-old male director of the chain retailer was arrested.   Customs noted that an investigation is ongoing and it cannot rule out further arrests.   An initial investigation revealed that the products were imported by the chain retailer from Thailand into Hong Kong.   The department will arrange further safety tests to ascertain whether the products are in compliance with relevant safety standards.   Apart from the chain retailer connected with the case, the department also checked multiple retail spots in various districts and no such products have been found for sale so far.   Under the regulation, where consumer goods or their packages are marked with warnings or cautions with respect to their safe keeping, use, consumption or disposal, such warnings or cautions shall be in both English and Chinese languages.   Moreover, the warning or caution phrases must be legibly and conspicuously shown on the goods, any package of the goods, a label securely affixed to the package or a document enclosed in the package.   Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year on first conviction, and $500,000 and imprisonment for two years on subsequent convictions.   Call 2545 6182 or send an email to report information relating to unsafe or law-breaking consumer goods.

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