Fake chips seized, arrests made in Hong Kong customs raid

Based on a tip-off from chip giant Intel, Customs and Excise officials seized HK$5.3 million ($868,000) worth of counterfeit semiconductor chips in Hong Kong last week.

As a result of the Customs raid, officials confiscated approximately 4,800 fake chips from an illegal factory in Hong Kong and arrested eight people, according to Calvin Leung, acting deputy head of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau of the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong.

It was Intel that alerted Customs to the existence of the illegal factory, Leung said.

The seized chips had their original brand markings scraped off and replaced with Intel Pentium branding, or the speeds on the labels were changed to reflect a faster speed. As an example, some processors originally-marked Pentium 90MHz were changed to show 100MHz labels, Leung explained.

Officials believe some of the chips were Intel chips sourced from Malaysia and Singapore and brought into Hong Kong by the counterfeiters for rebranding.

Intel still needs to complete a full inspection of the chips to determine their original brand and origin, he said, adding that his department believes the fake processors were headed for China.

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