Convictions follow Trade Descriptions Ordinance offences

A Chinese medicinal herbs shop proprietor and a Japanese restaurant have been convicted in a Kowloon court for violating the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

The shop proprietor was sentenced to carry out 160 hours of community service and to offer the victim $16,320 compensation for supplying a product with a false trade description, while the restaurant was fined $4000 for engaging in a commercial practice involving misleading omission.

This followed Hong Kong Customs receiving information alleging that a Chinese medicinal herbs shop sold suspected fake cordyceps. Examination by the Government Laboratory showed that the herbs bought did not contain Cordyceps sinensis, different from the trade description.

With regard to the restaurant, Hong Kong Customs did a test buy after an allegation that customers were not informed in advance of a surcharge. An investigation showed the restaurant added service charges to bills without informing customers in advance.

Under the TDO, it is an offence to supply goods with a false trade description, and traders who omit or hide material information pertinent to transactional decisions also commit an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

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