China cracks huge fake HDD ring

More than 200,000 hard drives bearing top brand names seized from counterfeiters

  • WRITER: REUTERS

SHANGHAI: Chinese police have seized more than 210,000 hard drives produced by a counterfeiting ring that sold them as brand-name items from the likes of Hewlett Packard and IBM, the Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

China has vowed to get tough on counterfeiting and intellectual property theft but many brands still face the problem with a broad range of items from cosmetics to vehicles being copied.

The theft of intellectual property has been a major source of friction in the country’s trade dispute with the United States.

Police arrested 56 suspects at two factories and four offices in Nanjing, Beijing, Chongqing and Guangzhou, where the hard disk drives (HDD) were made and sold, Xinhua said.

The news agency said the action against the counterfeiters was carried out late last year. It did not say why the news was only announced on Saturday but it came shortly after US President Donald Trump ordered his trade chief to begin the process of imposing tariffs on all imports from China.

The investigation into the fake drives began after Hewlett Packard filed a complaint, Nanjing police were reported as saying. Hewlett Packard did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside business hours.

The suspects would buy cheap, old and discarded hard drives abroad, modify the data on them, repackage them and sell them at a 60% profit, the police said.

Police said they had been shocked at the scale of the operation, in which hundreds of people were employed.

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