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Beware This Hairy Crab Season: 99% of Yangcheng Crabs Are Fake

Posted: 10/13/2014 9:45 am

hairy crabFoodies in China can now add the famous Lake Yangcheng hairy crab to the long list of faked food items on sale in the country. For every 300 Lake Yangcheng hairy crabs that are sold, only one is authentic.

The distinguishing characteristics of a hairy crab include a green shell, pale belly, golden hairs and claws. However, counterfeiters now use chemicals to give makeovers to normal crabs to resemble the prized Yangcheng ones. When plastic authentication rings were added to distinguish fakes from the real deal, wily counterfeiters simply copied the rings.

plastic authenticating ring hairy crabThe report coincides with the arrival of hairy crab season in Shanghai, where it is a local delicacy. While it’s a shame that some consumers may never come to savor a true Lake Yangcheng hairy crab, retailers selling the authentic product find themselves being squeezed out by counterfeiters.

Fu Zecheng, chairman of the Jiangsu Lake Yangcheng Hairy Crab Marketing Co, complains that counterfeiters have successfully copied every method marketers have used to authenticate their crabs. Fu is considering adding a second authentication ring but he questions how well it will work, “How can you prove to consumers that what you are selling is the real deal?” said Fu.

plastic authenticating ring hairy crab

Crab isn’t the only fake menu item being sold to consumers. A recent report revealed that many restaurants in China are passing off beef skewers as lamb to consumers who can’t tell the difference. While the report initially came to light last summer, a university student gave the story new traction last month after determining through DNA tests that only 20 percent of lamb skewers are actually lamb.

Whether crab or otherwise, it would appear that as long as there is a dollar to be made counterfeiting goods, there will be counterfeiters willing to do it.


Photos: iFeng, CCTV, KS News


US Angry Over Proliferation of Chinese-Made Fake ID Cards

Posted: 09/26/2014 9:02 am

us counterfeit id chinese madeUS officials are incensed over expertly-crafted, Chinese-made counterfeit identification cards they say are threatening the country’s security.

China has produced fake US ID cards for some time, but the country’s counterfeiters are getting better and better at their craft. A shipment of fake ID cards was recently seized by US customs agents, reported China Daily. The expertly-made forgeries were hidden in tea containers or jewelry boxes, and spread throughout several hundred cases.

The driver’s licenses are made in China and described as “authentic-looking”. Each counterfeit ID is worth $150 (RMB 920).

An official from Illinois expressed his outrage, saying something has to be done:

Reporter: When you look at the fakes that are coming in now, what’s your reaction?
Official: I’m amazed by it.
Reporter: This isn’t just forgery and fraud, there’s also a homeland security issue here too.
Official: That’s why I’m not going to stand idly by and allow this activity to continue without doing something about it.

When authentic-looking Chinese-made fake IDs were found in the USA in 2012, David Huff with Virginia’s Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control called them ”an affront to the very sovereignty and dignity of the states that issue them.”

A year before that In 2011, an officer from the Arizona Department of Public Safety called the Chinese-made ID cards “a national security threat”.

Still, it appears there is little the US government can do to stem the black market for counterfeit identification, said to be worth $100 million. Andrew Meehan, a policy analyst for the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, said:

Short of filing a complaint to the World Trade Organization, the request has to be made to the Chinese government.

obama fake id cardChinese netizens are proud of the country’s shanzhai culture that has produced countless counterfeit products:


The great home of counterfeits

The certification industry has finally gone international…

From out of the country, and into the world.

Even Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth that recently listed in New York, is able to openly sell fake IDs on its e-commerce website — in English, no less.

alibaba fake id identificationPhotos: China Daily, mident solutions, Alibaba screenshot, What’s on Xiamen


The RMB 1 Billion Mecca of Fake LV Bags Busted in Guangzhou

Posted: 09/22/2014 6:34 pm
Knockoff bag handbag guangzhou counterfeit shanzhai fake luxury

Scenes from an undercover report on counterfeit handbag factories in May.

China is the undisputed king when it comes to making fake items, be they fake photos, salt, Viagra, drugs, or even policemen. But there’s one fake item China really excels at producing: fake handbags.

Police in Guangzhou have announced that they have busted the mother of all fake Louis Vuitton handbag rings worth RMB 1 billion, reported QQ News. The criminal ring utilized an official-looking website to sell counterfeit versions of LV bags to foreign consumers.

Fourteen suspects have been arrested and six factories that featured up to 27 production lines have been shut down.

The gang had 494 half-completed products, around 11,000 finished products complete with stamped LV logos in storage, and another 18,000 processed leather items.

READ: Fake Designer Bag Workshops Thrive in Guangzhou,
Protected by Officials

Earlier in May, a report detailed how one counterfeit luxury handbag factory was able to produce more than 100 fake Prada bags per day and sell over 3,000 fake bags every month to earn revenue worth several hundred million yuan a year.

The counterfeit handbag factory is comprised of a sophisticated apprentice program where workers master the ability to create one part of the fake handbag, and then teach the skill to another worker.


Photo: Guangzhou Daily 


Shenzhen: The Cradle of the iPhone, and Also its Huge Resale Market

Posted: 09/18/2014 6:22 pm

huaqiang bei iphone resell market greyThe heavily-anticipated iPhone 6, Apple’s newest smartphone, goes on sale today (September 19) in Hong Kong, but not Mainland China. That means demand for the smartphone has increased substantially, with smuggled versions already being listed for RMB 10,000 and up.

But you don’t have to pay that if you don’t need the latest and greatest Apple gadget. Shenzhen houses the massive Foxconn factories where Apple products are produced, but it’s also home to a thriving marketplace that sells these same phones, albeit several models behind.

The arrival of the iPhone 6 has dropped the price of the iPhone 4 down to RMB 1,500 at this market, and budget-conscious consumers are flocking to Open World Communication City in Shenzhen’s Huaqiang North District to purchase refurbished phones.

Older models like the iPhone 4 are popular among many Chinese because they are still Apple phones, but they are cheap.

READ: Taiwan TV: “Chinese Blue Collar Workers Can’t Afford Home Computers”

Huaqiang North District has become an extremely popular place to purchase cheap and fake (shanzhai) electronics after a resurgence in 2010. It has now become a ”barometer” of the electronics economy.

Open World Communication City is full of stalls packed with old iPhones in various conditions, some with cracked screens, and others held together by rubber bands. The mall is equally full of shops that offer repair services for cracked screens and destroyed casing for those who want a fixer-upper.

A seller named Lu sells refurbished iPhone 4′s in bulk at RMB 1,000 each (US $160). Another offers re-polished displays for the iPhone 5 at RMB 170 (US $28).

READ: Unreleased Hong Kong and US Versions of iPhone 6 Already on Sale in Beijing for US$4,500

However, many of the clients that frequent Open World Communication City aren’t individual consumers, but sellers hoping to resell a refurbished phone at a profit. As sellers sell to sellers, the origin of many of these old phones gets lost in the shuffle and dealers won’t disclose where they get their stock from.

US versions of iPhones going on resale in China may come from any number of sources, such as online reseller Gazelle, which revealed that half of its iPhone stock is resold to “emerging markets”.

huaqiang bei iphone resell market grey

As nebulous as the source from which old iPhones are gathered, the products and services offered at the mall and throughout Huaqiang North District are even more suspect. A photo BBS post depicts the method by which an iPhone 5 can be altered to resemble an iPhone 5s, all while emphasizing that it is taking place in Huaqiang North (seen above).

Even though Chinese conservative values emphasize the importance of relationships through business and blood, the social value of owning a status symbol like an iPhone—no matter the model—make it more valuable than diamonds.


Photos:  Qiyexun, Baidu Tieba


Guangdong Police Find RMB 127 Million In Counterfeit Bills

Posted: 08/1/2014 4:39 pm

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit billsEverything seems to be faked these days in China, and there might be nothing more lucrative than faking money itself.

Guangdong Public Security Bureau Deputy Director He Guangping explained that his department was responsible for seizing a grand total of 127 million yuan worth of counterfeit banknotes, reports Xinhua. The seizures were made at three different places from January to June of this year. Fifty-seven people were arrested as part of the stings.

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit bills

There is an easy way to tell if Chinese currency is counterfeit. When examining a real 100 renminbi note, the “100″ located near the banknote’s serial number will appear green when looking at it head-on. However, when looking at it at an angle, this same “100″ will change to become dark blue. If it doesn’t, somebody managed to pass you a fake bill.

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit bills

Photos: Xinhua, People’s Daily


[Photos] A Whole Mall in China Dedicated to Fake Brand Names

Posted: 07/11/2014 9:03 am

sichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signsA brand name makes things better, doesn’t it? Why buy generic when you can put your trust in a prestigious, well-known brand?

A vacant retail space in Chengdu, Sichuan, agrees. But it seems no well-known brands have decided to rent space in the mall yet, so the mall went ahead and used the next best thing: fake brand names and logos.

So to help draw attention to the vacant retail lots still awaiting their first client, the 300 meter long street is adorned with brand names that seem oddly familiar.

sichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signs

Not pictured are a sign with the “M” logo from McDonald’s turned upside down into a “W”, and a fake version of Pizza Hut called “Pizza Huta”.

When contacted by a reporter, the sales office for empty retail lots passed the buck by explaining the signs were already hanging there when they first tried selling them. When questioned, the property developer explained their motives:

In waiting for these stores to be rented, fake signs are hung to create a business ambiance for the contractor. Once these lots have been rented out, these signs will be taken down.

Ambiance: it’s only ever a fake brand name away.

sichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signs

sichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signssichuan fake brands counterfeit retail lots signs

Photos: People’s Daily Online


Dongguan Counterfeiters Sold 19 Tons of Fake, Inedible Salt Over Two Years

Posted: 07/3/2014 8:58 am
fake salt dongguan counterfeit industrial table

Industrial salt found in the production base in Shuikou Village in Dongguan’s Dalang Town.

We previously told you about fake salt sold in Guangzhou, and now it appears Dongguan has become the latest place where industrial salt is being unscrupulously sold as consumable table salt.

According to a report by Yangcheng Evening News on July 2, a salt production base in Dalang Town’s Shuikou Village was raided by police and several other government agencies on June 29 and 30. Inside, they found 18.8 tons of fake, inedible table salt.

The salt is actually industrial salt first imported from Jiangxi Province, and then packaged at the shoddy production base described by the newspaper as “filthy and stinky”. It was then sold to local markets and small restaurants in Dongguan packaged as refined iodine table salt, the report said.

One insider told the newspaper that the production base has been manufacturing fake salt for more than two years. The base was closed to the public and guarded against outsiders during the day, with security particularly tight when several trucks transported the salt to nearby farmers markets.

Even officials from the Dongguan Salt Bureau, the official government institution in charge of regulating table salt, were shocked at the production base’s sophisticated counterfeit operation. The packaging of the salt was almost exactly the same as authentic table salt, and each bag of the fake table salt even came with a date of production and a label.

Industrial salt is not fit for human consumption. Some industrial salt contains sodium nitrate that may result in deaths.


Photos: Yangcheng Evening News 


Smelly Crocs For Sale in China Dangerous to Human Health

Posted: 07/1/2014 9:48 pm

crocsCrocs are as popular in China as Angry Birds or KFC, but now it appears they may be something besides hideous looking: they are apparently bad for your health.

CCTV is reporting that some varieties of Croc-style shoes sold in China pose a health risk to consumers due to some producers adding phthalates to the plastic shoes in order to increase their flexibility, durability, and longevity.

Guangzhou Daily blames domestic factories, which are trying to cut production costs by using the dangerous chemicals. The paper cites a German report noting six out of the ten Croc shoes tested contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). PAHs can cause problems when exposed to humans, particularly to expectant mothers. They can result in kids with asthma, anxiety, and other issues.

It’s important to note, however, no authentic shoes made by the Croc company itself were found with the additive.

So how can you tell if your shoes are safe? Apparently the hazardous fake Crocs have a strong, acrid odor. If you ask some Chinese retailers, though, they’ll say the smell is nothing to worry about. A vendor at a stall at Beijing’s Xiyuan market says the bad smell is normal.

All of the shoes that are on sale here can be purchased at malls for hundreds of kuai. However, both these shops and my own all get our stock from the same source. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of these shoes. Take these shoes home and leave them out in the sun, and after a few days the odor will disappear.

Meanwhile, knock-off Crocs are also sold cheaply online. On Taobao, one high-profile retailer had sold over 1,000 Crocs for 50 yuan. After some customers had complained of the smell, the retailer wrote:

No matter what material is being used, there is always going to be a smell. When retail stores display their shoes for a long time, the smell won’t be as strong after a while. Shoes having a smell is normal, and has nothing to do with the shoes being bad. You just need to place them in a place with ventilation and sunlight, and the smell with disappear.

We hope that people everywhere will protect their own safety before buying a faulty product that poses health risks. After that, we also hope that people everywhere will choose to uphold a basic standard of fashion.

Photo: Business Insider


Weekend Gallery: Humungous Marilyn Monroe Statue Taken to The Dump

Posted: 06/21/2014 11:28 am

marilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangxi

The Seven Meter Itch: on June 18, an enormous statue of Marilyn Monroe was dismantled in Guigang, Guangxi Province and taken to a garbage dump after only having been on public display for six months, reports Caijing.

The original intention of the statue was to attract international business as well as to serve as a local landmark. The statue became a romantic destination for dating and married couples wanting to take pictures with a gigantic Marilyn Monroe.

A professor from South China Normal University had led a group that created the statue, referencing a still from the movie Seven Year Itch as well the statue Forever Marilyn, a similar statue of Marilyn Monroe that once stood in Chicago. The statue took two years to build and was erected in Guiyang’s “Chinatown”.

Made of stainless steel, the statue weighs eight tons and is actually 8.18 meters high, taller than Forever Marilyn.

Over in the USA, Forever Marilyn has been intensely criticized for being provocative and for being “laden with political meaning”. Now moved to Palm Springs, California, Forever Marilyn has been vandalized and named the “worst piece of public art in the world” by

There was no reason provided in the report as for the sudden dismantling of the statue in Guigang, but then, beautiful women don’t often know the reason why they are being dumped.

marilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangxi


Photos: Caijing


Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Zongzi For Dragon Boat Festival

Posted: 05/29/2014 7:49 pm

zongzi real fake While I’m forced to indulge in my secret love of the universally panned mooncake in a darkened room during Mid-Autumn Festival all by myself, Dragon Boat Festival is the carefree holiday of the zongzi (粽子 zòngzi), a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in leaves. Only a summer holiday like Dragon Boat Festival can have two festive foods and encourage a playful rivalry over which is the superior one: Team Salty or Team Sweet.

However, as Chinese relive an early millennial fad of the Great Zongzi War of Salty Vs Sweet, we need to remind readers that yes, like every other food in China, there are counterfeit versions that you should avoid at all costs.

zongzi real fake

As you enjoy your short vacation, here are the ways to differentiate between a real zongzi (seen above to the right) and a fake one (left):

  • zongzi that look especially green may have had their leaves dipped in chemicals during the soaking process. The typical chemical additives used are industrial copper sulfate (CuSO4) and copper chloride
  • as seen in the picture above, the leaves of the fake zongzi look unnaturally green. It looks unrealistic in the same way people’s skin looks unrealistic in skin care commercials or on clips of old Max Headroom episodes
  • when steaming regular zongzi, the color of the leaves will darken and get yellow, and the water below will become a light yellow
  • fake zongzi will have a sulphuric smell when cooked, and the water below will turn green like its leaves

We’re sure most people can tell the difference; after all, people lose their appetite when their kitchen smells like the Eye of Sauron. But then, advertisements and pictures on the internet may lead people to have certain expectations on what a zongzi looks like. For example, would you eat this?

zongzi real fake

Happy Dragon Boat Festival, everyone. Make Qu Yuan proud.

Photos: NMG News, XDKB, Sipac

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