Chinese media are calling the one taken down between Shanghai and Dubai, the largest criminal counterfeiting organization in the world. 57 people arrested. 18 plants closed down. Over 21,000 counterfeited “luxury” products confiscated in Dubai and 7,000 in Shanghai. The USD value of the seized goods is exorbitant: 254 million. The fake products, for the most part handbags and leather accessories, carried the counterfeit logo of (almost) all luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès. A criminal system with products’ values that could have been weighted in gold.
Breaking the news was Shanghai’s police yesterday, explaining that the criminal organization’s logistics was based in Dubai. Fake products made in Guangzhou, China, would arrive in Dubai to then be shipped around the globe. Moreover: the production web was very wide and involved other developing Asian countries. The large counterfeit distribution system could count on over 200 distributors in the entire Middle East.
5 year-long Investigation
The investigation that finally dismantled this Pandora’s Vase lasted for 5 years. They started in Dubai and then extended to China, by focusing on two suspicious companies created in 2011. One with legal headquarter in Hong Kong, while the other one in Guangzhou. The latter was responsible for the manufacturing of the orders arriving form Dubai, as it utilized smaller entities to actually produce them. The Hong Kong-based company, on the other hand, was responsible for the distribution of the counterfeit products.
“First they bought the authentic handbag to dismantle. Then, they would replicate every detail as to make it as close to the real product as possible. From time to time they would even create a certificate of authenticity and create packaging that would suggest the piece was part of a limited edition. The Chinese fakes would then travel to Dubai via shipping company. Here they entered the marketplace at a price point between 20% and 30% inferior to that of the real good”, explained Chinese police. Some “limited edition” handbags, made with leather, would sell for over 10,000 USD.