The three leaders of an organised crime group, who worked together to import counterfeit trainers and distribute them internationally, have been sentenced.
On Tuesday 9 February 2021, Xiaoguang Xia, 37 of Kempsters Gardens, Salford, M7, Jian Lin, 38, of Kempsters Gardens, Salford, M7 and Yingpen Qu, 40, of Larch Gardens, Manchester, M8 were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
Xia was sentenced to two years imprisonment, Lin to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years and Qu to 12 months community order and 50 hours unpaid work.
Officers from the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) seized 280,000 pairs of counterfeit shoes, computer equipment and approximately £20,000 in cash at the warehouse and high street store owned by Xia.
Thousands of branded labels imported separately to be sown onto counterfeit clothing and shoes were also seized.
Detective Constable, Daryl Fryatt, who led the investigation said: “Selling counterfeit goods is illegal. These arrests have caused major disruption to an organised crime gang which has been involved in intellectual property crime worldwide, for years. This has hopefully sent a strong message to other criminals involved in counterfeit goods that it won’t be tolerated and you will be brought to justice.
“For the public it is vital to remember you don’t know what other crimes you are funding when buying counterfeit goods, or the conditions those working for the criminals are working in.
“This operation showed the effectiveness of partnership working and I thank each organisation involved for their help in shutting down this organised crime group”.
The investigation began with a referral from the Intellectual Property Office and Trading Standards and led to three warrants being executed by the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) with help from Greater Manchester Police, Border Force, Trading Standards, Manchester Fire Service and UK Immigration Services. Fake goods belonging to the group had been seized at various markets and through various sellers since 2015 and were all linked the warehouse and high street store raided by PIPCU.
Financial investigations revealed that the business account owned by Zia and Qu received payments between May 2016 and January 2019, to the value £2.3 million. The bank account regularly sent payments of £10,000 to a bank account in China, with the reference ‘gifts for children’.