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New York Times - 03/20/04:

Five Are Arrested in Waterfront Smuggling Inquiry
By SABRINA TAVERNISE

The authorities arrested five people yesterday who they said were trying to smuggle millions of dollars in counterfeit clothing into the United States from China. The people arrested had also tried to bribe undercover police officers, a law enforcement official said.

Four men and a woman were arrested in a parking lot in Flushing, Queens, after trying to bribe authorities with $248,000 to clear six containers of fake designer clothing, including knockoffs of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, according to Kevin McGowan, assistant police chief at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

"They had established a distributorship, and they were hoping that they would have corrupt officials that could push these containers through for them," Chief McGowan said, adding that the people "were looking to give $50,000 a container " in bribes.

Most of the people arrested were Chinese nationals, he said. They had been watched for months by the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, the New York Police Department and the United States Department of Labor, said Chief McGowan, whose agency also assisted in the investigation.

Chief McGowan identified two of the men arrested as Kevin Yang, 28, of Shanghai, and Kuochuan Tseng, 47, of Taipei. The other men Li Yi Hu, 36, and Yu Dong Ma, 35, and the woman, Xiaobet Hu, 32, are from Queens, Chief McGowan said. At of those three suspects are Chinese nationals, he said.

They were arrested about 5 p.m., after they flashed the money to undercover officers in a municipal parking lot on 38th Avenue and Prince Street. Officers charged them with trademark infringement, Chief McGowan said.

They were being held at a Queens station house last night, he added.

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