Dec 5, 2007
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New York authorities bust Chinese smuggling ring

Dec 5, 2007

NEW YORK, Dec 5, 2007 (AFP) - New York authorities said Wednesday, December 5th, they had broken up a gang that smuggled dozens of containers of Chinese-made fake handbags and shoes into the United States disguised as shipments of noodles.

A vendor shows a counterfeit bag at a market in Beijing, in 2006
Photo : Peter Parks/AFP

Ten people were arrested in the bust on charges of bypassing border security at the port of Newark, just south of New York, trafficking counterfeit goods and paying more than 500,000 dollars to an undercover agent in bribes.

Prosecutors said the bust followed a long-term undercover investigation and put the value of the genuine versions of the smuggled merchandise at an estimated 200 million dollars.

The ring operated since June last year and had attempted or succeeded in bringing more than 100 12-meter (40-foot) shipping containers loaded with fake Nike shoes and Burberry and Chanel handbags into the United States.

The goods were stored at warehouses before being sold in the New York area.

Among those arrested was a 70-year-old Manhattan resident identified as Michael Chu, who is alleged to have personally paid more than 100,000 dollars in cash bribes to the undercover agent posing as a corrupt customs official.

Others included Hsi Feng Li, known as "The General," who worked with Chu, Chi On Wong, who ran a trucking company allegedly involved in the scheme and Fnu Lnu, known as "Mr Ding," accused of coordinating the shipments.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in jail and a hefty fine.

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