Detergents, bicycles, medicines – news in brief

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Cologne customs seize tons of counterfeit detergent // Stuttgart police scrap counterfeit bicycles // Containers of fake photovoltaic modules in circulation // UK: Illegal medicines worth millions seized

Cologne customs seize tons of counterfeit detergent

Customs investigators of the Cologne‑Wahn customs office have intercepted almost 24 tons of counterfeit washing powder. As was currently disclosed, the officials seized the more than 5,400 counterfeit washing powder bags, which were on their way from Turkey to Germany by truck, back in November 2023. In mid‑January, the main customs office in Aachen eventually destroyed the counterfeit products after the brand owner had identified them as counterfeits. Jens Ahland, press spokesperson of the Cologne Main Customs Office, estimates the value of the goods at around 110,000 euros. According to Ahland, the amount of detergent confiscated is just over the average daily consumption of washing powder of all inhabitants of the city of Cologne combined.

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Stuttgart police scrap counterfeit bicycles

The public prosecutor’s office and police in Stuttgart have organized the destruction of around 150 counterfeit bicycles by a specialist company, as the authorities reported in February. The counterfeit products had already been confiscated in 2023, during a raid on a storage room in Stuttgart‑West. A 50‑year‑old man had allegedly intended to sell counterfeit branded bicycles and/or bicycles with counterfeit components. Counterfeit bikes were to be sold online and were apparently being offered for around 500 euros each.

Containers of fake photovoltaic modules in circulation

In early February, Bauer Solar GmbH from the Rheinhessen region of south‑west Germany warned customers about counterfeit photovoltaic modules. Some European customs authorities reportedly discovered such modules bearing an unauthorized Bauer brand name. This apparently affects so‑called 420W glass‑glass modules. According to the German manufacturer, the counterfeits presumably show discrepancies in the packaging and lack a wooden reinforcement for transport; apparently, they are offered at suspiciously low prices. According to information from the authorities confiscating the counterfeit products, the fakes presumably came from a Chinese company. Bauer has already taken legal action against the company.

UK: illegal medicines worth millions seized

Last year, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confiscated over 15.5 million doses of illegally traded medicines, according to a recent report by the agency. These products confiscated in 2023 would have a retail value of over 30 million pounds (35 million euros). The MHRA is working with online marketplaces, social media platforms, and technology providers as well as law enforcement agencies at home and abroad to remove such illegal offers.

//“This year, working with partners across public and private sectors, our efforts have led to more medicines seizures than ever, custodial sentences for offenders, the removal of criminal profits and considerable success in disrupting the trade online.”

Andy Morling, Deputy Director (Criminal Enforcement), MHRA

This includes the so‑called Operation Pangea, an international initiative against the illegal trade in medical products on the Internet. More than two million of the confiscated doses were seized as part of this initiative. In another collaboration, here with the online marketplace eBay, the MHRA also supported the blocking of over half a million unregulated medicines and other medical products.

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