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Divisoria's 168 Mall in trouble anew for bogus products

May 20, 2006 1:46pm
The 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, is in hot water again, this time for selling counterfeit items. The mall's retail stores were raided by the Bureau of Customs earlier in March for selling smuggled items.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided on Saturday two stores in the mall, known for low prices, for selling bogus “Kipling" bags worth P2.6 million.

Raided were the sales outlets and stock rooms of Love Face General Merchandise and Tophrecia General Merchandise, owned by Jocelyn Gou, Ivy Velasquez and
Christopher Palencia.

The retail outlets were located at Stall 1F-12 at the ground floor, while the stockrooms were found at Unit WH-89, at the mall's third floor.

Seized from the two establishments were 1,338 fake “Kipling" bags. Gou, Velasquez and Palencia now face charges of trademark infringement.

NBI agents earlier put the establishments under surveillance and conducted test buys to confirm the evidence gathered through market research firm Orion Support Inc. (OSI).

The NBI confirmed the sale of the items and obtained the search warrants from Manila Judge Antonio Eugenio Jr.

The NBI conducted the raids after Quisumbing Torres Law Offices filed complaints that the two firms were distributing and selling counterfeit bags bearing the
“Kipling" trademarks.

Customs officials raided the mall on March 16 based on complaints of the Retailers Association of the Philippines of unfair competition posed by the stall owners.

Late last year, legitimate retailers had reported a 50-percent decline in sales due to the presence of the mall, which attracted customers across economic sectors.

They said they post losses because they pay taxes and import duties while retailers at the mall do not.

The 168 Mall gained fame last Christmas season when its low prices and imported brands attracted buyers who ordinarily shop at the more established city malls. GMANews.TV s