INTERPOL operation nets fakes worth USD 50 million across Asia

Posted: September 23, 2014 in By Deepak Kharel

5_sqligallerysliderImageInterpol News Service

LYON, France – Illicit goods worth nearly USD 50 million were seized during an INTERPOL operation targeting the organized criminal networks trading fake and illicit products in Asia.
Operation Real was conducted by police and customs agencies across 10 countries – Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Supported by the INTERPOL Liaison Office in Bangkok, the operation resulted in the seizure of nearly 1 million fake or illicit products including alcohol, cigarettes, cosmetics, clothing and electrical goods, and more than 660 individuals arrested or placed under investigation.
An organized criminal group operating a factory producing fake cosmetics and packaging was dismantled in China, where 589 individuals were arrested and USD 37 million in illicit goods were recovered. Testing determined the fake cosmetics contained high levels of mercury, which can be toxic to humans. A factory and logistics chain for distributing illicit cigarettes was also demolished.
In Vietnam, some 690 counterfeit items were seized from street hawkers and retail shops, including more than USD 3 million worth of illicit electronics recovered by police in Hanoi. Authorities in Hong Kong discovered false compartments in container trucks during an examination, leading to the discovery of more than 600 smuggled electronics.
“The success of Operation Real and the increased awareness it has generated regarding the trafficking in illicit goods are a testament to the joint efforts of INTERPOL, the Vietnam National Police and all participating countries,” said Tran Duc Vinh, Deputy Director of the Department of Police for Economic Crime Investigation, Police General Department on Crime Prevention and Suppression of Vietnam.
Interventions in South Korea were conducted at retail shops, market stalls, checkpoints and by the Coast Guard patrols. Some 500,000 counterfeit clothing items were seized throughout the country during the operation.
“This operation once again highlights the transnational scope of trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting, as well as the international reach of the criminal networks involved in illicit trade,” said Michael Ellis, Head of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit.
“To effectively combat this type of crime, it requires a coordinated global response between law enforcement and all involved stakeholders, as demonstrated by the successful outcomes of Operation Real,” he concluded.
The operation was preceded by a three-day planning meeting and training course which brought together more than 70 participants from 10 countries and private sector partners to learn the techniques used in different countries to combat counterfeiting and illicit trade.
“Many people are not aware of the different types of everyday items which are being counterfeited and traded to profit criminal organizations, so we hope this operation increases awareness of this global problem,” said Brian Chan, Criminal Intelligence Officer with INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit.

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