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Needled out: Fake Moutai scheme fizzles as authorities nab suspects

By Liang Shuang | | Updated: 2023-12-12 22:34
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Chinese authorities have thwarted a sophisticated operation involving counterfeit Moutai, a highly sought-after and expensive brand of liquor.

The Gongshu district market inspection bureau in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, revealed on social media on Tuesday that they cracked the case, uncovering 76 bottles of Moutai tampered with to hold cheaper spirits. Two suspects have been detained by police.

The bureau acted on a complaint from a distributor who suspected 95 bottles of Moutai, worth approximately 250,000 yuan ($35,000), purchased from a Ningbo-based company were fakes. Inspection revealed a tiny drilling hole hidden beneath the label on 30 of the 30 randomly selected bottles. Subsequent verification by Moutai's authenticators confirmed tampering on 76 of the total 95 bottles.

The perpetrators carefully drilled needle-thin holes, avoiding label damage, and refilled the bottles with cheap alcohol before sealing them with porcelain powder. This meticulous method made detection challenging even for experienced distributors.

An investigation led by Ningbo police identified the source as salespeople making door-to-door visits to the Ningbo company, who supplied the counterfeit liquor in six batches. Two individuals have been detained, and further investigation is ongoing.

The Gongshu bureau urged consumers to carefully examine bottles and purchase Moutai only through authorized channels.

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