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Fake HP goods seized in China

There seems to be no letup in Hewlett-Packard's hunt for companies that forge its products, so HP's crackdown on racketeers continues.

SINGAPORE--There seems to be no letup in Hewlett-Packard's hunt for companies that forge its products.

Last quarter, over 87,000 counterfeit HP cartridges and accessories were seized in China, with 14 police raids conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

A total of 10 retail shops, three warehouses and 16 manufacturers' premises were raided, including Beijing's Silicon Valley Computer Market and Zhonghai Computer Market. The authorities also confiscated over 13,300 toner cartridges, 4,200 ink cartridges, and 70,000 labels, brochures and packages, HP said.

HP declined to say if anyone was arrested during the China raids, and wouldn't comment further on the matter.

In December, HP said that illegal copies of its LaserJet and inkjet cartridges were discovered in several raids in the Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai.

"Being an established organization in China, HP has been working closely with the country's law enforcement officials to stamp out the production and distribution of counterfeit products," a company representative said in the statement.

This year, HP said it will continue to take "active measures" to crack down on racketeers in China. This includes working closely with Chinese authorities and educating consumers on the importance of using genuine products, with tips on how to detect imitations.

Spotting a dud
According to HP, some of the telltale signs of counterfeit cartridges include inferior print quality, tampered packages, incredibly low prices (of up to 20 percent on certain instances) and a higher-than-normal failure rate.

The security labels on ink cartridge boxes also serve as a sign. Introduced last May, the label incorporates a "color shifting ink" feature; when viewed face-on, the HP "invent" logo on the label appears in color, but when viewed at any other angle, the logo will appear in black.

Since May, the company has been replacing its older ink cartridge boxes in line with stock turnover on a market-by-market basis. However, the security labels have not yet been incorporated into its toner cartridge packaging.

In the first nine months of 2001, over 30 police raids were conducted in the Asia-Pacific, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and China, following complaints from dissatisfied customers and resellers, HP had earlier announced.

The company had also earlier revealed that illegal sales tend to be prevalent in large countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Irene Tham reported from Singapore.