Major Crackdown on Production and Sale of Counterfeit E-Cigarettes

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Major Crackdown on Production and Sale of Counterfeit E-Cigarettes
Police in Shiyan, Hubei province, China, have busted a major e-cigarette production and sales case, arresting 20 suspects and seizing over CNY 100 million worth of counterfeit products.

According to a statement released by the Dongyue Sub-bureau of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Shiyan, Hubei Province on November 23rd, a major case involving the production and sale of counterfeit e-cigarettes across multiple provinces and cities has been successfully cracked. The authorities have apprehended 20 suspects involved in the case, with the total value of the products involved exceeding 100 million yuan.

Major Crackdown on Production and Sale of Counterfeit E-Cigarettes
Translation: Production site of e-cigarettes. Image provided by the Shiyan police.


In March 2023, staff members of the Tenyan Tobacco Sales Bureau discovered the sale of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes (pods) within the urban area. They immediately launched an investigation and identified Liu as a suspect for selling tobacco products without a license. Subsequently, they reported the matter to the police.


After receiving a report, the Economic Investigation Brigade of Dongyue Sub-bureau proceeded to initiate a formal investigation into Liu's case. On April 20th, the specialized police officers apprehended Liu and his superior, Xiang, inside a residential property in Wuhan, where they were engaged in a transaction. A total of over 40,000 counterfeit e-cigarette pods and 136 smoking accessories were seized at the scene.


After the arrest of two individuals, the police successfully identified two subordinate distributors and their superior, Wu Mou, located in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province through interrogations and investigative analysis. In order to gather further evidence against Wu Mou, the specialized police team conducted on-site investigations in Wuxi. Ultimately, six suspects involved in illegal business activities, with Wu Mou as the leader, were apprehended. Additionally, three shops and three storage locations under their names were searched, resulting in the seizure of over 20,000 counterfeit e-cigarette pods and one transportation vehicle.


In a situation where Wu was extremely uncooperative, the investigating police analyzed and assessed the logistics and financial flows they had already obtained. As the evidence chain became clearer, Wu's psychological defenses were gradually breached, and he confessed to the process of contacting Feng and Qiu to obtain goods.


As a result, the task force immediately traveled to Dongguan to carry out an investigation, successfully identifying several suspected criminals, including Feng and Qiu. However, no finished fruit-flavored e-cigarette (pod) products were found at the production site. After more than two months of investigation, the police gradually unraveled information regarding the organization structure and production patterns of the criminal gang.


On July 26th, under the careful coordination of the public security authorities and tobacco department in multiple locations, the special task force of the Dongyue Sub-bureau and staff from the tobacco department carried out simultaneous operations in Dongguan, Zhongshan, and Zhanjiang, Guangdong. They successfully arrested two suspects involved in the case, dismantled three e-cigarette manufacturing sites, and shut down two storage and distribution centers. This operation effectively disrupted the entire supply chain of e-cigarette production, sales, and raw material processing related to this case.


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