Printer vendor Fuji-Xerox, in conjunction with an Australian covert operator, has seized $2 million worth of counterfeit toner cartridges in Hong Kong, bound for Canada.
The seizure -- involving the Hong Kong Customs Authority and excise officials from multiple countries – resulted from the work of the operator who was employed by Fuji-Xerox Australia to seek out and expose counterfeit product suppliers in Asia.
The Hong Kong businessman that was supplying the goods faces a large monetary fine and jail time. He would also face a civil prosecution brought by Xerox Corporation in Hong Kong, the company said.
Ramsay Moodie, director of corporate affairs at Fuji-Xerox Australia, said the expert operative with 'international credentials' was hired late last year.
'He [the operator] dredges the market looking for problems,' he said.
The company also worked in conjunction with Xerox in the US and England and Fuji-Xerox's operation in Japan. Around 2800 toner units were seized, Moodie said.
The company was first alerted to the counterfeit products after earlier shipments to North America caused damage Tektronix Phaser 7800 printers. 'A large number of machines were affected,' he said.
Fuji-Xerox had also recently been involved in two other raids in Singapore on products - some which could have been bound for Australia.
'Over the last year, Fuji-Xerox and Xerox have been involved in three key raids that have seized in excess of $15 million worth of counterfeit products', said Moodie.
He said 'time will tell' whether some counterfeit products were in the Australian channel. He added that the printer market was a 'soft target' and the industry needed to crack down on these operators in a similar fashion to the music industry.
Fuji-Xerox MD Phil Chambers, said all manufacturers must be vigilant in fighting to protect the ultimate victim – the customer. 'We are telling the Australian public about this latest raid in order to alert them of the dangers.
'This particular counterfeit toner has not been found in Australia yet – however consumers should be on the alert when buying cartridges from aftermarket suppliers,' he said.