A pile of counterfeit designer clothing seized by police in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, May 15, 2013. (Photo/CNS)
As many as 59,222 people suspected of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement were seized by Chinese police last year, the Ministry of Public Security revealed on Tuesday.
They were involved in 55,180 cases with an estimated value of 173 billion yuan (US$28 billion), ministry official Gao Feng told a press conference.
More than 90 million tonnes of counterfeit and substandard goods were confiscated, and 1,260 criminal networks smashed. During a special campaign against online sales of fake drugs, a record 300 million pills worth 2.2 billion yuan (US$363.5 million) were taken by police.
Gao said that the police had cooperated on IPR with Interpol, the World Customs Organization and law enforcement authorities from various countries, including the United States, Britain and France.
In May last year, the Ministry of Public Security and the US Department of Homeland Security busted a fake stimulant drugs trafficking gang, capturing eight suspects, he said.
The ministry also took part in Interpol's Operation Hurricane against counterfeiting and trafficking last year, helping resolve 2,914 cases.
Gao promised a stern crackdown on counterfeiting during the Spring Festival, the Chinese lunar new year, and the whole of 2014.
China also authorizes another nine administrative organs, including the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, to police against copyright piracy.
Gao said that China will work out a sound system within this year to coordinate the work of the ministry and the nine organs.
The country will also try to publicize information concerning authorities' handling of IPR infringement cases this year, said Chai Haitao, deputy head of a central office set up for nationwide operations against IPR infringement and counterfeiting, at Tuesday's press conference.
Administrative authorities currently only inform persons directly concerned with IPR infringement cases of investigation results, without telling them how the results were reached unless such information is requested.
The move will promote more scientific and fair law enforcement in this regard and help people supervise law enforcement authorities, said Chai.
China registers an average of about 200,000 administrative punishment cases concerning IPR infringement each year, according to Chai.