If you’re familiar with the laws in Singapore, you would know that selling counterfeit products is a huge no-no.
It’s not illegal if you purchase these products for personal use, but it does become illegal when you purchase them and re-sell them to others.
This woman learned it the hard way.
Woman Sold Fake Branded Bags on Facebook Live
She then liaised with suppliers in Vietnam and they started supplying her with counterfeit products at a cheap cost of $3 to $10 each, including bags from brands like Chanel, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton. She even had a supply of bags from Charles & Keith.
With a huge supply of fake goods, she promoted them via Facebook Live two months later and sold them for double the cost price.
Those who were interested simply had to leave a comment on her page and she would reach out to them to process their orders. They would then make payment via PayNow or PayLah.
By doing this, Le earned approximately $200 during each Facebook Live session, but her happiness was short-lived.
In December 2020, the Singapore Customs found a shipment of bags that they suspected were counterfeit. This was immediately brought to the authorities’ attention, and they headed to her house two days later to investigate.
When they arrived, they found 520 pieces of fake branded goods. This included 69 pieces of Louis Vuitton clothes, nine pairs of Versace footwear, 13 Balenciaga bags, and 96 pieces of Gucci clothes. Le was promptly arrested and brought back to the station for questioning.
Inspection of Fake Goods
Authorities enlisted the help of trademark administrators for the various brands to inspect the fake goods.
The administrator for Adidas commented that the fake goods were “the lowest grade counterfeits”, while the administrators for Chanel and Louis Vuitton felt that the goods were made of poor quality and were not up to their brands’ standards at all in terms of both materials and craftsmanship. The same sentiment was shared by Gucci’s administrator.
Woman Sentenced to Jail
During the court hearing, the prosecutor asked for Le to be jailed four to six months because there is a need to deter others from committing the same offence. It is important to send out a message that intellectual property needs to be heavily protected as it contributes significantly to Singapore’s economic and industrial success.
Le pleaded guilty to five counts under the Trade Marks Act of possessing goods with falsely applied trade marks for sale. She then apologised and explained her actions by saying that she wasn’t very clear about Singapore’s laws.
Despite her reasoning, the judge sentenced her to four months in jail. 15 other similar charges were taken into consideration for her sentencing.
Upon hearing this, she asked if her punishment could be paying a fine instead. She explained that she had to take care of her family, especially her 80-year-old mother-in-law who recently had a heart bypass.
Le’s husband, who was in court that day, also asked the judge for some mercy.
He said, “Yes, I admit my wife has been ignorant. I also admit it’s my fault because I don’t really take care of the family.”
He added that his father had just passed away and that his family was now a “mess”.
After hearing this, the judge said that the sentence was already decided upon. However, she acknowledged their hardships and gave permission for Le to defer her jail term to 19 October 2021 so that she has enough time to sort out her personal matters.
While four months is a long time, Le could have been given a jail term of five years and a fine of $100,000 instead for each charge of possessing a fake branded product for sale.
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Featured Image: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)
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