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Shanghai Police Bust $4.4 Million Fake Mooncake Operation

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Shanghai Police have busted a 4.4 million USD counterfeit mooncake operation in the lead-up to China’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

After a month-long investigation by the Shanghai Public Security Agency, over 40 arrests were made in connection with the illegal operation. Some 12,000 fraudulently labeled boxes and 180,000 fake mooncakes were seized, thought to be worth 30 million RMB (4.4 million USD).

https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_9305297

Warehouse in Fujian where fake mooncakes were kept. Source: The Paper

Mooncakes are a thick pastry with fillings such as sweet red bean or lotus seed paste, often with one or two salty egg yolks in the center. They’re traditionally eaten as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration, which this year comes on October 1.

The operation was producing and selling mooncakes under the Maxim brand — a Hong Kong-based food and beverage manufacturer whose artisanal mooncakes are a popular choice during the holiday.

Related:

What’s in a Mooncake?

In August this year, the Economic Investigation Team of the Shanghai Security Bureau discovered that someone was selling Maxim’s mooncakes online at 50%-70% of the original price. An investigation was started and it was soon discovered that the goods were fake.

The investigation led police to a factory in Fujian, where the fake mooncakes were seized. The police issued a reminder to the public that food should only be bought through official channels, and that cheap food could be dangerous to consumers’ health.

Related:

Mongols, the Ming, and the Myth of the Mooncake Rebellion

According to officer Zhuang Liqiang, since the beginning of the year, the Shanghai Police have managed to detect over 70 crimes in the food manufacturing sector, making 360 arrests in relation to the crimes, which involved upwards of 270 million RMB.

Chloe Yorke
    Chloe was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai and San Francisco. She is currently studying Chinese at Durham University in the UK and is passionate about Chinese art and culture.