Four California Companies Charged With Illegal Toy Importation; CPSC, DOJ seek fines and injunctions against companies and owners

May 22, 2002
Release Number: 02168

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a lawsuit has been filed against four Los Angeles-area businesses and six individuals, for importing dangerous toys that violate federal safety laws. CPSC and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief against the following firms and their presidents or owners: Lucky Toys Inc. (Julia Ko and Steve Thai), Union Import Inc. (Simon Ko), Rita Chin (owner of the now-defunct Kool Imports Inc.), 333 Imports Inc. (Harry Chin), and Seven Stars Toys Imports Inc. (Ivan Ko). All of these individuals are related as siblings or in-laws.

The complaint alleges that since 1997, these firms imported 47 separate types of toys (totaling over 350,000 units) which had small parts in violation of CPSC regulations. To protect children under three years of age from choking, aspiration, or ingestion hazards, federal law prohibits toys from having small parts. Examples of the violative toys include baby dolls, frogs, phones, cars, airplanes, and bath sets.

CPSC informed the companies and their owners/presidents on numerous occasions that their imports were illegal and dangerous; yet, the complaint alleges that the firms and their owners/presidents knowingly committed further violations. Through the inspection and detective work of CPSC and the U.S. Customs Service, most of these toys were seized at the Port of Long Beach before they could reach store shelves.

"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of CPSC investigators and Customs agents, no child was injured by these dangerous toys," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "This case shows that CPSC, Customs, and the Justice Department are committed to working together to prosecute those who endanger the safety of children."

In addition to the current charges, Steve Thai was sentenced on April 9, 2002, to three years probation and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for importing children's toys that violated federal law. Thai, who formerly owned the now defunct Super Rambo Inc., is the first individual sentenced for a criminal conviction related to CPSC's mandatory children's toy standards.

VIOLATIVE TOYS

 
Lucky Toys
Product
Violation
Quantity
Toy penguin
small parts
4,320
Toy bus
small parts
65,016
Train set small parts
12,528
Musical doll small parts
7,200
Musical doll small parts
46,440
Toy airplane small parts
7,680
Toy car small parts
32,640
Toy car small parts
960
Toy car small parts
1,440
Toy police car small parts
2,160
Toy truck small parts
720
Dog play set small parts/balls

1,728



Union Import

Product
Violation
Quantity
Toy car
small parts
17,280
Toy phone
small parts
11,040
Baby doll small parts
1,920
Toy frog small parts
2,880
Musical frog small parts
1,440
Toy hammer small parts
8,640
Toy hammer small parts
12,672
Musical doll small parts
7,680
Wind-up doll small parts
10,080
Toy bus small parts

1,680

Toy car small parts
900
Toy phone small parts
23,232


Kool Imports

Product
Violation
Quantity
Toy car
small parts
2,400
Toy phone
small parts
2,400
Toy phone small parts
2,400
Musical dolphin small parts
2,400
Toy duck small parts
4,800
Toy car small parts
1,296
Animal toy small parts
4,500
Toy elephant small parts
900
Doll set small parts
2,400
Toy car small parts

3,600

Toy worm small parts
3,600
Toy phone small parts
2,400
Toy phone small parts
1,800
Musical phone small parts
3,600
Toy musical bus small parts
4,800
Toy bath set small parts

2,400



333 Imports

Product
Violation
Quantity
Tambourine play set
small parts
250
Toy seal
small parts
3,600


Seven Stars Toys

Product
Violation
Quantity
Toy phone
small parts
7,200
Toy airplane
small parts
2,880
Toy phone small parts
7,200
Toy tractor small parts
630
Toy horse small parts
7,200