Customs in Frankfurt confiscate large quantities of fake Lego figures, while investigators in Lithuania bust an illegal vodka factory. US authorities also report spectacular raids, whereas Chinese customs report their half-yearly results.

Tens of thousands of fake Lego figures intercepted
Customs officers at Frankfurt Airport confiscated 42 parcels with over 50.000 fake Lego figures. Being published only recently, the investigators had intercepted the packages from China during a routine check at the end of May 2018. The shipment was supposed to contain key rings. “By now, the counterfeiting suspicion has been confirmed and the figures have been submitted for destruction. The economic harm prevented amounts to 25,200 euros,” says Isabell Gillmann, press officer at the main customs office in Frankfurt am Main.

Police take 40 tons of illegal vodka off the market
In Lithuania, police investigators busted a large illegal liquor factory and confiscated over 40 tons of alcohol. During a total of around 30 raids at commercial and residential premises in the Kaunas and Vilnius areas, numerous police officers also confiscated professional equipment, luxury vehicles, large amounts of cash, and forged documents. Since November, the now-exposed underground factory, located in Lithuania’s second largest city of Kaunas, is said to have produced large quantities of fake vodka. The counterfeit alcohol was sold under well-known brand names in Lithuania and other European countries. In the course of the operation, police officers arrested 15 people, five suspects are now in custody.

70-million-dollar counterfeit trade unmasked in the US
Investigators of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) have now successfully dismantled a syndicate that allegedly counterfeited Nike sneakers worth over 70 million US-Dollars (approx. 60 million euros). According to the authorities, the five-man gang imported hundreds of thousands of cheap shoes, which strongly resembled Nike models, from China between 2016 and July 2018. The counterfeiters then attached fake Nike logos to the sneakers and sold them as alleged originals. During raids in the New York area in August 2018, authorities seized thousands of illegal items. The five suspects now face prison sentences of up to 20 years.

China: Customs report on the first half of the year
In the first half of 2018, China’s customs officials seized around 7.1 million goods for IPR violations. This includes around 6.9 million goods confiscated for trademark infringements, reportedly protecting more than 2.200 trademarks of Chinese and foreign companies. One priority for officials was the football World Cup: together with their Russian colleagues, China’s customs secured some 500,000 counterfeits. In 2017, China’s customs officials had confiscated a total of 41 million items, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

Sources: zoll.de, Police Lithuania, ICE HSI, Xinhua, Securing Industry