A Chinese asylum seeker WEN XIN HAN of Copeland Road, London, SE15 appeared at Camberwell Magistrates Court today charged with seven (7) offences of selling counterfeit tobacco contrary to Section 92 of The Trademarks Act 1994 and offences contrary to Regulation 5 of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Following a short trial he was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 26 weeks Imprisonment.
The case was brought by TM Eye as a private criminal prosecution on behalf of its client Japanese Tobacco International (JTI).
HAN was a prolific criminal involved in the open sale of fake tobacco at Bovingdon market in Hertfordshire every Saturday. TM Eye undercover operatives supported by the TM Eye surveillance team carried out series of covertly recorded test purchases from HAN at the market. On 29th September 2018 fake Amber Leaf rolling tobacco and Marlborough Gold cigarettes were purchased, on 13th October 2018 counterfeit Amber Leaf rolling tobacco and Marlborough cigarettes were purchased and on 20th October 2018 an undercover operative purchased fake Amber Leaf and Golden Virginia rolling tobacco and Marlborough cigarettes.
Following the test purchase on 20th October 2018 police officers supported by TM Eye detectives detained HAN in the market. TM Eye surveillance officers had previously observed HAN hiding a large bag behind a stall in the market from which he was seen to be returning frequently to collect fake tobacco and cigarettes for sale. The bag was seized and found to contain a further 34 x 50g pouches of Amber Leaf, 11 packets of 20 x Benson & Hedges, 22 x 50g pouches of Golden Virginia, 7 packets of Lambert & Butler Original, 16 packets of Lambert & Butler Original Silver, 13 packets of Marlboro Golden and 2 cartons of 200 Benson & Hedges cigarettes. These were all seized.
HAN had only recently been convicted by TM Eye of nine (9) offences of selling counterfeit tobacco at Bovingdon market between 16th September 2017 and 9th May 2018. He had received an 8-week sentence of imprisonment suspended for 12 months on each count to be served concurrently. He had ignored the conviction and the suspended prison sentence and continued to offend. As a result TM Eye targeted him again.
TM Eye Director David Mckelvey said,“HAN was a prolific criminal engaged in the open sale of illicit fake tobacco and cigarettes that put people’s health at risk and damaged the brands involved. There was also a significant loss to HM Revenue. TM Eye will continue to robustly enforce the law in order to protect our clients brands and to stop the sale of dangerous fake tobacco products.”
TM Eye has prosecuted nine persons for selling fake tobacco or cigarettes to date. Three of those convicted have received custodial sentences. All those convicted have their convictions recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) and have their fingerprints, photographs and DNA taken for police indices.