중앙데일리

Police: luxury ‘Swiss’ watches for rich and famous were fake

Aug 08,2006

Fake Swiss watches, which sold for as much as 97.5 million won ($101,100) a piece to celebrities and the wealthy, were displayed yesterday by police from the foreign affairs section of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. By Kim Tae-seong

A 43-year-old American resident earned hundreds of millions of won by selling luxury “Swiss” watches to celebrities and the wealthy at lavish parties, although the timepieces were made in Korea with some parts from China, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said yesterday.
Lee Dong-jin, who also goes by Phillip Lee, was detained by police. Another man, 41, who manufactured and supplied the watches, is being investigated, police said.
Mr. Lee earned 700 million won ($726,000) by selling about 300 watches with a manufacturing cost of 80,000 to 3 million won at excessive prices, ranging from 5.8 million to 97.5 million won, starting in March 2005, police said. He also allegedly received 156.7 million won from four people who he promised to give franchising rights.
“I admit that some of the allegations [about the watch parts] are true for the 200 watches that were made as gifts, not for sale,” Mr. Lee told the JoongAng Daily. He said, however, that all of the watches were made in a factory in Switzerland. Mr. Lee claimed the case was sparked by angry franchisees and said he would appeal the case when he goes to court.
Police said the watches were made in Siheung, Gyeonggi province, with components imported from China. Mr. Lee opened an office and a store in Seoul in May of 2005, under the corporation and trademark Vincent & Co., police said.
He introduced the watches to rich customers and celebrities in Seoul’s posh Gangnam district by throwing lavish parties or spreading the word through hair salons used by his target customers.
He sold them as luxury Swiss watches that only “1 percent of the world’s population wear.”
Among celebrities, the watches were publicized as the “good luck watch,” police said.
Mr. Lee allegedly advertised that the watches were purchased by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and Princess Grace of Monaco. On Internet portal sites, he wrote a posting, asking, “Where can we buy the Swiss watch, Vincent?” and answered himself, police said.
The orders poured in. Then, he put the customers on waiting lists, saying, “The watches are made by hand and cannot be produced en masse.”
When the authenticity of the watches was questioned earlier this year, Hwang Sok-ki, the chief executive of Juno Hair, one of the people who purchased a dealership for 1 billion won from Mr. Lee, demanded the money back and sued the suspect.
For those customers asking for an import certificate, the suspect sent the watches to Switzerland and then exported them back here, police said.
The watches were accompanied with fake certificates of authenticity and quality.
“Recently the luxury market has grown and the suspect knew that upscale customers do not like brands that everyone knows,” a police official said.


by Lee Chul-jae, Jo Do-yeon, Ines Cho


dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장