Press Review on Counterfeiting (September 2018)
A several-month investigation led Canadian authorities in June 2018 to make large seizure at the famous Pacific Mall in Markham, north of Toronto. Representative of the Canadian authorities traveled to New York to meet with trademarks owners, including Adidas, Chanel, and Cartier. After analysis, it was confirmed that the goods seized were counterfeit. At this stage of the investigation, no lawsuit has been filed (Thestar.com, 12 Sept. 2018; CP24.com, 11 Sept. 2018; Toronto News, 12 Sept. 2018).
The “Pacific Mall” appears on 2017 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, as following:
“With over 270,000 square feet of retail space and more than 500 small shops, the sale of counterfeit goods at Pacific Mall in Ontario is sprawling and pervasive. The mall is touted as the largest Chinese mall in the western world and a recognized tourist destination but it has also been a well-known market for the sale of counterfeit and pirate goods for over a decade. Sales of counterfeit goods in the Pacific Mall reportedly continue despite extensive efforts by brand owners to enforce their trademarks. Vendors in Pacific Mall appear to operate largely with impunity, and requests for assistance from local law enforcement have reportedly gone unanswered. Many of the counterfeit goods including cosmetics, sunglasses, and fragrances pose a risk to public health and safety.” (Office of the United States Trade Representative, 2017 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, p. 29).
The Jamaican police arrested a man after a seizure of counterfeit goods was made in a shopping center. The seizure is estimated at 10 million Jamaican dollars. Jamaica’s police force said the arrest was part of an ongoing effort to rid the streets of counterfeit goods (Jamaica Observer, Sept. 18, 2018).
In the Kelang Valley, west of Kuala Lumpur, bottles of counterfeit alcohol containing methanol reportedly resulted in around 40 deaths from poisoning. Police and Customs conducted 220 operations and seized more than 4,000 liters. The trademarks concerned would be the following: Grand Royal, Kingfisher Extra, Cape Kapak, Camel Strong, Mandalay and Club 99. 34 people were arrested. The investigation continues, as authorities scrutinize the region to limit the health risk (The Star, 28 Sept. 2018).
The Criminal Investigation Department conducted a raid in the Bukit Timah area, in Singapore. Counterfeit watches have been seized. A man was arrested. He is suspected of being involved in the online sale of counterfeit luxury watches and accessories. Preliminary investigations seem to reveal that the man had purchased counterfeit goods from local and foreign sources before reselling them on various online platforms. The article in the newspaper Straits Time also states that anyone found guilty of selling or distributing counterfeit goods may be fined up to Singapore $ 100,000 or imprisoned up to five years, or both (Straitstimes.com, Sept. 29, 2018).
In Durban, police carried out an operation after obtaining information about a counterfeit shop. A search was conducted in a store, during which counterfeit detergents were discovered. These goods bear Unilever Group trademarks. An expert from Unilever was called to conduct an analysis. Original containers had been filled with imitation detergents. A woman was arrested for trafficking in counterfeit goods (IOL, 25 Sept. 2018).
A man who tried to escape was arrested at the Kopfontein border between South Africa and Botswana. Two trailers were loaded with 200 boxes of counterfeit shoes. The suspect appeared in the Lehurutshe Court of First Instance. His request for bail was rejected (The Monitor, 17 Sept. 2018; Ofm.co.za, 14 Sept. 2018; TimesLive, 13 Sept. 2018; IOL.co.za, 13 Sept. 2018).
The Thai authorities conducted a quick anti-counterfeiting operation on one of the paradisiac beaches of Koh Samui. A total of 10,000 counterfeit goods were seized in 13 stores. The authorities seized shoes, handbags and sunglasses with the Nike, Adidas, Rolex, Louis Vuitton and Gucci logos on them. Representatives of the trademarks concerned were on the spot. The owners of the shops were arrested. They will be tried for infringement of intellectual property rights (Nationmultimedia.com, 26 Sept. 2018).
In Bangkok, the army destroyed more than two million confiscated counterfeit goods. The “ceremony” was attended by the deputy prime minister, an army chief general and the head of the national police (Nationmultimedia.com, 3 Sept. 2018; Bangkok Post, 3 Sept. 2018; Chiang Rai Times, 3 Sept. 2018)
In Kampala, bankers and anti-counterfeiting specialists have come together to find effective solutions against this scourge that literally floods the country with goods of mediocre and dangerous quality. According to the UNBS (Uganda National Bureau of Standards), at least 50% of all goods on the Ugandan market are false. Financial institutions in Uganda have been urged to blacklist companies involved in counterfeiting. Mr. Muwema, Head of Legal and Public Affairs of theAnti-Counterfeiting Network (ACN), said counterfeiting companies were a serious threat to the financial sector and needed to be tackled by all means, including by denying them access to credit: “Big counterfeit dealers receive credit from banks just like the genuine dealers. There is a big risk if the counterfeit goods are impounded and banks cannot retrieve their money. This may increase the rate of bad loans. Apart from that, counterfeit businesses kill the genuine businesses who would be bigger customers to the financial institutions.” In doing so, Mr. Muwema urged financial institutions to check their clients’ backgrounds, learn about their businesses, and enforce strict requirements regarding authenticity (ChimPReports, 28 Sept. 2018).
Ukrcement is the Ukrainian cement association. Ukrcement found that more than 80% of the incorrectly labeled cement was counterfeit. The study focused on 50 bags of cement for the consumer market. 82% of the cement was counterfeit. 56% of the cement analyzed had lower strength and did not comply with national standards. Ukrcement stated that the risks associated with the use of counterfeit cement range from the loss of time and revenue in small projects to a direct threat to human life in large architectural projects. Local regulations require that cement bags include five elements: the name of the producer, the conventional cement designation, the normative document designation, the net weight, and the mark of conformity (Globalcement.com, 19 Sept. 2018).
United Arab Emirates
The Sharjah Police Economic Crimes Division carried out raids in three warehouses and one packing company. Thousands of counterfeit electronic items have been seized. Four people were arrested as part of this crackdown on counterfeiting. An arrest warrant has been issued for a fifth suspect who is believed to be out of the country. A criminal investigation was opened (Thenational.ae, Sept. 25, 2018).
The UAE authorities have announced that they have conducted raids in private residences and farms. They discovered counterfeit ink cartridges bearing the “HP” and “Samsung” trademarks. The counterfeit goods were seized. It is said that “the operation helped halt the trade of counterfeit cartridges across the UAE and internationally and disrupted the criminal ring assembling and distributing the goods” (Gulfnews.com, Sept. 16, 2018).
United Kingdom, England
In Manchester, a police operation led to the seizure of a large number of counterfeit goods the value of which is estimated at several thousand pounds. The goods seized included bags, school bags, clothing, perfumes illegally carrying the trademarks such as Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, or Ralph Lauren. These goods were seized in Bury New Road, also known as “Counterfeit Street”. Authorities have made arrests (Manchester Evening News, 11 Sept. 2018).
In Shropshire, police pulled over a vehicle that contained football shoes and football t-shirts suspected of being counterfeit (football shirts, jackets, perfumes, watches, and hair straighteners). This led police officers to investigate at the driver’s home where goods were seized for £ 50,000. A man was arrested and released on bail (Shropshire Star, 18 Sept. 2018; bbc.com, 18 Sept. 2018).
In Birmingham, a series of raids resulted in the seizure of 85,000 counterfeit cigarettes in two Birmingham neighborhoods (Handsworth and Erdington). In order to prove the counterfeit nature of the goods, Birmingham City trading standards officers had previously made test purchases (Birminghammail.co.uk, 27 Sept. 2018).
A man from Oswestry appeared in the Llandrindod Wells Court of First Instance for counterfeiting. Before the judges, he admitted to selling, for two years, counterfeit goods on Facebook, including goods bearing the brands Adidas, Chanel, Super Dry, and Ugg. As a distributor, he purchased the goods from Manchester. He sold an average of five counterfeit goods a day, for a unit price of £ 25. The Llandrindod Wells Court sentenced him to the following: 12-month community order; 150 community service (reduced to 120 hours as a result of his guilty plea), and £7,864 to pay for the costs (Shropshire Star, 19 Sept. 2018; bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk, 17 Sept. 2018).
United Kingdom, Northern Ireland
In Belfast, police have conducted searches and seized nearly 10,000 counterfeit items, including phone batteries, chargers, headsets and various technological accessories (Newsletter.co.uk, Sept. 28, 2018; BelfastLive, 29 Sept. 2018)
In Carrickfergus, a driver was arrested because he was driving without insurance. A search inside the vehicle revealed he was in possession of counterfeit football t-shirts and cannabis (Larne Times, 17 Sept. 2018).