Shaanxi authorities go easy on Tsingtao beer counterfeiters
Summers are steamy in the city of Ankang in China's northwestern Shaanxi Province. Ankang is situated in the far south of Shaanxi, near the borders with Sichuan and Hubei. When the mercury rises, what better way to beat the heat on a hot Ankang summer day than with an ice-cold Tsingtao beer?
If you guessed "with an ice-cold counterfeit Tsingtao beer," you're on point. Iconic Tsingtao remains one of China's most counterfeited brews. In the latest incident, authorities in Shaanxi's Ziyang County in the city of Ankang uncovered 20,000 bottles of bogus Tsingtao, enough to quench the thirst of about 6.7% of the county's 300,000 citizens. Authorities say that the beer has a value of roughly 30,000 yuan.
There's nothing novel about manufacturing fake beer in China. But this is a rather unusual case because of its resolution - at least for a case reported by local media: Officials decided not to levy any administrative or criminal punishment on the counterfeiters. Were the authorities feeling especially lenient? Were they paid to look the other way?
The report suggests that the main reasons police went easy on the counterfeiters are that they cooperated with the investigation and the amount of counterfeit product involved was deemed small. It was also claimed that a disabled man - Ze Mou - ran the operation.
Authorities let Ze Mou and his colleagues keep the beer bottles after the counterfeit product was emptied out so that they could earn money recycling the bottles. This is definitely a case of local protectionism gone too far. Without supervision, the conceded bottles may once again undergo illegal filling.