Fake vodka bottles to be destroyed

MORE than 77,850 counterfeit Smirnoff vodka bottles, 18 boxes of bottle caps and 10 boxes of labels which were seized by Customs have been handed over to the legitimate owner of the brand for destruction.

The items, which were shipped to Singapore from a neighbouring country in 11 20-foot containers, were seized by officers last June at cargo distribution complex Keppel Distripark.

The fake items, declared as "general cargoes", were supposed to have been consigned to a company in Singapore before being shipped to another country.

The empty bottles had been stored in 2,595 cartons.

Singapore Customs believe the items were meant to be used for illegal bottling activities and sale abroad.

A spokesman for the authority said that this is the first time that it has detained such counterfeit vodka bottles.

Acting head of the Singapore Customs operations management branch, Mr Tok Choon Min, said that the authority "does not condone such illegal trading activities," especially when the "goods involved may potentially pose health of safety risks".

Customs handed over the detained items on Dec 26 last year to the legal representative of the brand owner Diageo North America.

Last November, the company received the court's permission to take possession of the fake goods and dispose of them.

Smirnoff is a popular brand of vodka that was founded in Moscow in the mid-1800s. Currently owned and produced by British company Diageo, it is distributed in more than 100 countries.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.