Three men in Beijing have been arrested on charges of manufacturing tens of thousands of gallons of ersatz paint and reselling it in used cans bearing popular brand names.
Police confiscated more than 2,000 cans of fake paint from the men’s operation, which they ran out of a rented room they had converted into a factory, China Daily reported. The bogus products were stored in two warehouses in Beijing.
300 Cans a Day
For more than eight months, the men supplied some 300 cans of fake paint each day to area hardware stores. More than half of the area’s stores ended up selling fake paint until the men were arrested recently, Han Xiujie, a spokeswoman for the public security bureau, told China Daily.
“They used empty cans from popular paint brands, such as Nippon and Dulux, and fake raw materials,” she said. “The price of their paint was only 20 yuan ($6) a can, which was much cheaper than the real stuff, which costs about 170 yuan at the market.”
|Nippon Paint was one of the brands fraudulently used in the scam.|
The companies whose paint products were misrepresented are not the only victims, noted Liu Junhai, vice-chairman of the China Consumers Association.
Dangerous Raw Materials
“Fake paint contains many substandard chemical materials that are very dangerous to people’s health, especially to their respiratory systems and organs,” Liu said.
The report said that police had been tipped to the scam by a Beijing Times reporter, but it gave no details.
“The industrial and commercial departments in the district have confirmed that this paint is counterfeit,” Han said. “That will be important evidence in the trial.”
The fake paint will be destroyed, and punishments will be stiff, police warned. At the volumes and rates police quoted, the men face 15 years in prison for the operation.
Police are also investigating the landlords who rented space to the men.
“The suppliers of the factory and storehouses should share some of the responsibility for this if they knew the suspects were making fake products,” he said.
The Appeal of Cheap Paint
Liu, of the consumer group, said it is difficult for customers to distinguish real paint from the fake stuff.
“Most people have no knowledge about paint and tend to buy products with lower prices,” he said. “That is how those suspects were able to make fake paint and cheat their customers.”