Buddy Boutique in Phu Quoc

A store in Phu Quoc that distributes counterfeit products

ABOUT BUDDY BOUTIQUE.

Business Profile

Buddy Boutique is a small business managed by an Australian expat in Phu Quoc.  Tourists and locals allege that this store sells and distributes fake fashion products in Phu Quoc and hurts local original brands.

 

Buddy Boutique Phu Quoc Island

The owner/manager of Buddy Boutique also owns and manages:

  • “Phu Quoc Cham” – a business networking group in Phu Quoc.
  • Buddy Ice Cream – a store that sells imported food.
  • “Phu Quoc Information Center” – an alternative name given to the Buddy Ice Cream Store.
  • “Visit Phu Quoc” (map, website, & guide) – a local map.

TIMELINE

2015

  • Buddy Boutique Launched

2016

  • Counterfeit products are first spotted.
  • Owner was informed, but did not show any empathy or concern.
  • Phu Quoc Cham“, a *business networking group* was launched by owner of Buddy Boutique.  Most new expats who attended were not aware of the link between the organizer and counterfeit products distribution in Phu Quoc.
  • Infringed images started to appear on Buddy Boutiques Facebook Page.

Buddy Boutique Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Cham

  • Tourists were complaining and blaming the government, which led to an investigation.

2017

  • An external investigation was conducted to validate tourists claims to determine if the products sold by Buddy Boutique were indeed fakes – a crime in Vietnam.  Major brands confirmed.  A warning was posted on Facebook and the Australian expat owner quickly removed product images from the Facebook Page.
  • After all infringed images were removed from the Buddy Boutique Facebook Page, the owner left a cryptic message afterwards.  Facebook has all the activities logged if the authorities in Vietnam decide to take action – specifically Hoang Van Truc, deputy director of the Investigation Bureau of Economic Crimes, and Phan Thi Viet Thu, vice chairwoman of the Consumer Protection Association in Ho Chi Minh City

Phu Quoc Chamber of Commerce

2018

  • Tourists on the island continued to report seeing multiple fake fashion products for sale at the Buddy Boutique shop.  These products were tagged “buddy”.

Counterfeit Products in Phu Quoc

  • Before the first Phu Quoc Cham event of the year, the Buddy Boutique page could no longer be found on Facebook.  Either Facebook removed the page, due to Terms of Service Violations, or the Australian removed the page in order to cover up his dark past.
  • It is also worth nothing that Phu Quoc Cham, which is clearly a “meet up / business networking group” is being marketed as “not for profit” for reasons that are not clear.  However the government has confirmed that it is not.

Phu Quoc Chamber of Commerce

Why Buying Counterfeit Products is wrong

Besides hurting brands and posing a health risk to consumers, the money from the sale of fake products goes towards organized crime, and helps fund terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, people, child sex and wildlife.

Consumers may see counterfeit products as “fun” and feel clever to buy handbags and earrings that look like the real thing but cost a fraction of the price. The reality is not fun for the workers, many of them children, who work long hours in slave-like conditions in secret factories making fake products for people who have no ethics and no respect for the law.

It’s this human cost that makes counterfeit goods one of the most insidiously dangerous criminal activity in Vietnam.   This is also the first time that an foreign national from Australia is engaged in this activity in Vietnam – something unheard of.

The Phu Quoc Cham Problem

Vietnam Law & Counterfeit Products

The selling a distributing of counterfeit products in Vietnam is against the law:

Under the Penal Code 2015:

  • Article 189 –  Illegally trafficking goods or money across the border
  • Article 190 – Manufacturing or trading banned goods
  • Article 191 – Hoarding or, transporting banned goods
  • Article 192 –  Manufacturing or trading counterfeit goods 
  • Article 196 –  Speculating
  • Article 200 –  Evading tax
  • Article 217 – Violating competition regulations
  • Article 217 – Violating competition regulations
  • Article 235 –  Polluting environment

Reporting

Kien Giang Province

People's Committee of Phu Quoc:

  • Address: 04 – 30/4 Street, Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc Island
  • Tel: (0297) 3846066
  • Email: banbientap@phuquoc.gov.vn

HOW You Can Help

Let the Australian Embassy and AusChamVietnam know that one of their nationals is selling counterfeit products in Vietnam.

Evil is no faceless stranger, living in a distant neighborhood. Evil has a wholesome, hometown face, with merry eyes and an open smile. Evil walks among us, wearing a mask which looks like all our faces.

– Dean Koontz

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Buddy Boutique Phu Quoc
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