US Border Officers Seize Fake Rolex Watches From Hong Kong

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
June 13, 2021 Updated: June 13, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville recently seized 20 fraudulent Rolex watches in a shipment from Hong Kong, the agency announced on Thursday.

Had the watches been authentic, they would have a market value of over $491,000, according to the CBP.

The shipment, destined to a residence in Miami, was seized at the Port of Louisville. The fake watches were manifested as plastic cards and had a total declared value of $100.

“Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for an unusually low price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases,” stated Thomas Mahn, Louisville Port Director, in a statement.

Counterfeiting poses a serious risk to the U.S. economy. According to 2016 U.S. government statistics, counterfeit goods and piracy wiped out between $200 and $250 billion to the U.S. economy annually, while causing a loss of about 750,000 American jobs.

China and Hong Kong remain the top two sources of fake goods entering the U.S. market. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CBP made 27,599 seizures in fiscal year 2019. These goods would have had an estimated retail price of over $1.5 billion if they were genuine.

Among these seizures in 2019, 13,293, or 48 percent, originated from China, followed by Hong Kong with 9,778 seizures, or 35 percent. The top category of seized products was counterfeit watches and jewelry, at 15 percent, followed by apparel and accessories at 14 percent.

Since 2020, CBP officers have reported several seizures of counterfeit Rolex watches from China and Hong Kong.

In February, CBP officers in Cincinnati announced the seizure of 85 fake Rolex watches that would have a total market value of over $5.8 million. The watches were found in a shipment originated from Hong Kong, transited through a freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia, and were headed to an apartment in New York City.

Also in Cincinnati, 200 fake Rolex watches were seized on Aug. 28, 2020, according to the CBP. The shipment, which was manifested as “timer,” originated from China and was destined for an individual in New York.

If genuine, the 200 fake watches would have a market value of more than $2.5 million, the CBP stated.

For two weeks prior to Aug. 12, 2020, CPB officers in Cincinnati seized a total of 54 counterfeit watches in two separate shipments from China. One of the shipments was headed to Jersey City in New Jersey, while the other to Mobile, Alabama.

The 54 fake watches had infringed upon the trademark of either Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Cartier, or Gucci, according to the CBP. If authentic, the watches would be worth about $1.9 million.

In March 2020, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized eight fake Rolex watches in a shipment from Hong Kong. The watches would have a total suggested retail price of about $100,400 if they were authentic.

Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.