Internet Celeb Arrested for Selling Fake Products Online in Shenzhen

By Jonathan Zhong, October 17, 2018

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An Internet celebrity, known as 'Cat Woman' (Maoniang), was arrested on August 19 for selling fake goods. The news of her arrest was made public on Monday, October 15. She had previously been missing from online activity for over 100 days.

The announcement, which was made by the Longgang branch of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, took Weibo by storm. 

'Cat Woman,' who rose to fame posting fashion-related content on Weibo, disappeared from online conversation from May 30 onwards. She spent 48 days on the run in South Korea, Thailand and Japan until July 16 when she turned herself in for charges related to counterfeiting. Netizens were unclear of her whereabouts or specific circumstances in the interim and expressed their disappointment that 'Cat Woman' had not faced justice. 

Police first began investigating her in May after Taobao shut down the woman's online store and reported the case, according to South China Morning Post. In the meantime, claims against her for selling fake goods began to soar on the Internet. 

Just before the time of her disappearance, she told her followers that she had come into possession of a batch of Gentle Monster sunglasses and would be selling them at special prices for a limited period of time. With her fans rushing to purchase the Korean shades, her stock of over 3,000 pairs of glasses sold out in minutes. 

According to Shenzhen Special Zone Daily, she was able to rake in RMB1.94 million in the aftermath of the sale before being bombarded later the same month with claims that the glasses were copycat products.

cat-woman-fake-goods.jpg
A comparison of the glasses' packaging (upper) vs that (lower) from 'Cat Woman' via tech.sina.com.cn

After receiving extensive online criticism, she deleted her Weibo posts, withdrew RMB7 million from her bank accounts and fled the country along with her husband. The police also found that she had taken a series of measures to destroy evidence of her online enterprise, including destroying computer hard disks, deleting surveillance videos, burning up invoices, relocating her leftover stock and dismissing her employees. 

After trying in vain to persuade her to return to China, the Shenzhen police gave her an ultimatum on July 10, warning that if she did not turn herself in they would issue an Interpol Red Notice for the couple and have their passports revoked. They turned themselves in six days later and were put under criminal detention until her arrest was approved on August 19 by the Shenzhen Procuratorate.

This has been the first cross-border anti-counterfeiting case handled by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau. Together with the assistance of a special investigation team from Alibaba, the Longgang Branch of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau also managed to bust the supplier behind those counterfeit sunglasses in June, with the man in charge, Lin, being arrested on August 14.

READ MORE: Internet Celebrity Detained For Disrespecting Chinese Anthem

[Cover image via Xinhuanet.com]

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