China: Silk Market traders strike back

China: Silk Market traders strike back

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BEIJING (AFP) – A group of traders at Beijing's famous Silk Street Market have launched legal action after being temporarily shut down for selling fake luxury brand goods, state press reported.

The managers of the mall closed 29 vendors for one week each this year after they were found to be selling knock-offs of labels including Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada, the China Daily reported.

Vendors' lawyers have now sued the management, arguing there was not enough evidence to prove they were selling fake goods, it said.

"They could have been sold by street vendors who just happened to be in front of the traders' stalls," an unnamed lawyer for the group was quoted as saying.

The lawyer said only the government, not the management company, had the authority to close down the traders.

The traders have each demanded compensation of 19,000 yuan (2,700 dollars) for the closures and damage to their reputations, the China Daily said. The case began at a Beijing court on Wednesday.

Cheap counterfeit products of everything from foreign movies to clothing, sporting goods and music are widely available across China.

The Silk Street Market has become a symbol of authorities' half-hearted efforts to end the practice, with a wide range of products remaining on sale despite many well-publicised government crackdowns.