A Fujian woman who operated a Taobao shop selling fake Converse shoes was sentenced to three years in prison by a Fuzhou Drum Tower District court yesterday. The woman was also fined 200,000 RMB (~$32,000), in light of the fact that she had apparently earned more than 670,000 RMB (~$106,000) selling the fake canvas shoes.
In 2008 Ms. Lin set up a business on Taobao with someone named Huang, and together they built a shop that specialized in selling “authentic” Converse sneakers, although they had no right to do that. Later that year, Lin acquired 1,182 pairs of fake Converse sneakers as well as 3,480 pairs of fake socks, and began selling the shoes at around 90 RMB/pair ($14). Apparently, she was unaware that any of this was illegal until she was arrested in 2011 and charged with a crime.
Of course, Lin is far from the only vendor to sell fake products on Taobao, but this story hits home particularly hard with your humble correspondent, who owns three pairs of “Converse” shoes, all purchased from Taobao and all of questionable enough quality that I have begun to wonder if I am one of the unlucky customers who bought a pair of shoes from Ms. Lin.