Toys, customs successes, lockdowns in China – news in brief

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OLAF: Around 8,000 counterfeit toys seized // Customs seize tens of thousands of counterfeit e-cigarettes // Counterfeit Bluetooth headphones intercepted // Japan: Customs seizures drop following lockdown in China

OLAF: Around 8.000 counterfeit toys seized
With a raid in Poland, officials from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the local customs authority of the Mazovian region confiscated approximately 8,000 counterfeit toys, estimated at a market value of more than 110,000 euros. According to authorities, investigators had identified the illegal toys in August in a shopping center on the outskirts of Warsaw. The counterfeits were found both in an outlet and in a back room, where fake toys were individually packaged and prepared for display. Store employees also applied fraudulent CE markings to the counterfeit toys; the CE mark is supposed to ensure conformity with European regulations. Ville Itälä, OLAF Director-General, praised the cooperation with the Polish authorities: “By acting together we can stop fake and potentially hazardous goods from ending up in people’s homes.”

Customs seizes tens of thousands of counterfeit e-cigarettes
Officials in Germany have recently seized a total of nearly 70,000 e-cigarettes, presumed counterfeits, in two remarkable actions. In late August, customs officers of the Braunschweig-Watenbüttel main customs office stopped a Dutch van on the A 2 motorway and confiscated 28,000 e-cigarettes. The presumably counterfeit and untaxed e-cigarettes, which were apparently intended for the German market, appeared suspicious, e.g., due to spelling errors on the packaging. Also in late August, customs officials in Cologne secured around 40,000 suspected counterfeit e‑cigarettes as well as around 133 liters of e‑liquid, acting in cooperation with the city of Cologne. “The enormous quantity of e‑cigarettes and e‑liquid was distributed across three stores and their storage and basement rooms. Another store operator brought fresh goods in a van during our controls,” described Jens Ahland, press spokesperson of the main customs office Cologne.

Counterfeit Bluetooth headphones intercepted
Officers of the Hanover Airport Customs Office stopped a shipment of 25 Bluetooth headsets illegally bearing the brand of a well-known manufacturer. As recently released, the investigators had already intercepted the package originating from China back in early August. The consignment contained 25 alleged brand-name headphones in deviating outer packaging. “As someone here went to the trouble of camouflaging the goods with differing outer packaging, the suspicion that they were counterfeits was naturally obvious,” said Nils Haustein, press spokesperson of the main customs office Hanover. A suspicion that has been confirmed by the brand owner.

Japan: Customs seizures drop following lockdown in China
In the first half of 2022, Japanese Customs intercepted just over 12,500 counterfeit goods. This represents around 14% less than in the same period last year. More than 9,100 of the seized counterfeits originated from China, which reflects a drop of around 22% year on year. The Japanese Ministry of Finance believes there could be a possible connection with coronavirus lockdowns in Shanghai – the toughened restrictions might have disrupted shipments to Japan.

Sources: OLAF // Hauptzollamt Braunschweig, Hauptzollamt Köln // Hauptzollamt Hannover // NHK-World Japan

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