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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Police seize over R400 million in counterfeit goods in eight months

The National Counterfeit Unit, established in November last year, has shut down a number of shops across the country.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has seized over R400 million worth of counterfeit and illicit goods in the past eight months.

This follows the establishment of the National Counterfeit Unit in November 2023.

On Friday, police arrested two Chinese nationals and seized counterfeit goods with an estimated value of R5.8 million in the Johannesburg CBD.

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Police also arrested two Ethiopians for the contravention of the Immigration Act No. 13 of 2002 during the operation.

Nearly 7 000 counterfeit items imitating well-known brands were seized, including sport apparel, clothing, shoes, perfumes, sunglasses, watches and bags.

Counterfeit goods seized

On 4 April, the National Counterfeit unit led another takedown operation which targeted 18 shops inside a shopping centre in Fordsburg, Johannesburg.

During the operation, police seized counterfeit and illicit goods worth over R11 million and over R40 000 in abandoned cash. Police also arrested 37 undocumented foreigners.

ALSO READ: Police seize R11m in fake goods, arrest 37 undocumented immigrants in Fordsburg

Over 8 000 items imitating well-known brands were seized during this operation.

On 3 April, police seized goods with an estimated value of R15 million during a bust in Fordsburg. One suspect was arrested on charges of possession, manufacturing, and dealing in counterfeit goods.

In February, police seized counterfeit goods worth over R8 million and arrested 12 undocumented foreigners in Marabastad, Tshwane.

The operation resulted in the seizure of various counterfeit items such as clothing apparel, shoes, caps and bags.

ALSO READ: Joburg CBD takedown: Police seize fake goods worth millions

In a separate incident in February, police seized counterfeit goods to the value of R13 million and arrested five undocumented foreigners during an integrated takedown operation in the Johannesburg CBD.

This operation resulted in the seizure of over 18 000 counterfeit items.

Warning to transgressors

In January, police seized counterfeit goods including fake clothing and watches to the tune of R5.1 million in Bellville, Cape Town.

Upon the arrival at the complex, SAPS members found most of the stores abandoned.

They only arrested three Somalian men in their mid-thirties and seized goods with an estimated value of about R5.1 million.

“One of the three suspects, a 36-year-old man was found inside a shop fronting as a copy shop, where members confiscated a substantial amount of cash, passports, photos, certificates, including birth, asylum, death, refugee certificates and vehicle licences, affidavits and a money counting machine,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie.

Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General (Adv) Thembisile Patekile, who labelled the trade of counterfeit goods as economic sabotage of the country, expressed his appreciation towards the members of the team who ensured the successful removal of fake products from the streets.

ALSO READ: Marabastad raid: Police seize R8m in goods, arrest 12 foreign nationals

He also issued a warning to building owners and landlords who are well aware of the illegal activities on their premises that they are also in the sights of the SAPS.

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