Fake goods peddler jailed 9 months

Fake goods peddler jailed 9 months

From Mickey Mouse bedsheets to Manchester United pillow cases, the bedlinen sold by Goik Soon Guan brought him handsome profits.

Some of the made-in-China counterfeits of well-known brands had profit margins as high as 92 per cent.

But the good returns from his textile business came to an abrupt end in July 2011, two years after he started to knowingly import the fake goods through an agent in Guangzhou, China.

Goik, 43, was given a 15-month jail term for his intellectual property offences, but yesterday, his sentence was reduced to nine months following a High Court appeal.

Justice Chao Hick Tin took into consideration the $100,000 compensation the businessman had made to various rights holders as well as an undertaking he had made to not commit the offences again.

The judge, however, turned down his application to substitute the jail term with a fine. A stint in prison was appropriate, considering the systematic and persistent way in which Goik had gone about the infringements, said Justice Chao.

Three raids on July 13, 2011 ended with the seizure of 8,957 fake items. Goik pleaded guilty to three charges of copyright infringement and one count of trademark infringement.

Twelve related offences were taken into consideration.

In opposing his appeal, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjna Rai argued that Goik had played a "central and pivotal role" in a relatively large-scale operation.

To further grow his business, which also sold footwear, he had peddled his wares at night markets and temporary stalls in Housing Board towns.

"The facts show that he was fully confirmed in his criminal motivation to continue and even expand his illicit business," said DPP Rai.

He was also "actively involved" in procuring the goods, she added.

Goik, a first-time offender, could have been jailed up to five years and fined up to $100,000 for having goods with fake trademarks for the purpose of trade.

Similarly, the maximum jail term and fine he faced were the same for each copyright offence.

This article was published on May 15 in The Straits Times.

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