German customs intercept counterfeits worth millions

© Andreas Scholz / Fotolia.
Customs officials in Germany have removed large quantities of counterfeit automotive parts, watches, and designer furniture from the market. In several actions, they have seized hundreds of illicit goods.

German customs officials are currently reporting several successes in the fight against the import of counterfeit goods. For example at Munich airport, officials seized a shipment containing a total of 80 counterfeit brake pads during customs surveillance. The fake car components had been coming from Asia and allegedly belonged to the brand of a well-known car manufacturer, customs said in September. “The number of products that are being counterfeited these days is immense. Especially in the case of safety-relevant components, such as brake pads in this case, counterfeits pose a high risk,” said Thomas Meister, spokesperson of the main customs office in Munich. The consignment will now be destroyed at the request of the rights holder.

At Leipzig Airport, officials intercepted counterfeit watches and confiscated products worth around 16.2 million euros. Customs officials had seized the total of around 540 counterfeit watches, allegedly from a well-known manufacturer, already at the end of July, as the authorities released recently. The counterfeits, which had originated in Hong Kong, were in transit and on their way to a recipient in the United Kingdom. The rights holder eventually confirmed that the watches were counterfeits.

Meanwhile, in Osnabrück, officials seized counterfeit designer furniture. As currently released, officials of the Fledder customs office intercepted several consignments of designer furniture over a period of several months early in the year. In total, the authorities had seized 58 pieces of counterfeit furniture estimated at 423,000 euros, officials said. The counterfeits were designer furniture of three different brands: Vitra Collections AG Switzerland, Fritz Hansen A/S, and Cassina S.p.A. The fake furniture came from a consignor in the United Kingdom and had been ordered over the Internet by a total of 52 different people. Already the first delivery made the authorities suspicious, as the enclosed invoice apparently stated an incorrect amount. Subsequently, the officials checked further incoming deliveries from the consignor. The rights holders examined the goods in question with the help of photos and confirmed the suspicion. In mid-September, the counterfeit furniture was finally destroyed at the request of the rights holders.

Sources: Hauptzollamt Dresden, Hauptzollamt Osnabrück, Hauptzollamt München

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