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Guangzhou police have broken a crime network that made and sold top-tier counterfeit Louis Vuitton products, seizing a haul with a potential street value of about 1 billion yuan (US$162 million).
The fake bags were of such high quality that only a trained eye could detect them as counterfeits. The items were sold in high-end mainland shopping malls and overseas via a website, and came with counterfeit certificates of authenticity and invoices to deceive clients.
Police in Guangzhou said they busted the counterfeit ring in June, arresting 14 suspects and shutting down six underground workshops operated by the group.
Officers confiscated more than 11,000 bags and suitcases with the "LV" logo, along with a quantity of unfinished LV-branded leather products that could be worth 1 billion yuan if sold in a finished state as genuine items.
Police also found 27 machines and 30 million LV logos. The suspects even launched a replica Louis Vuitton website and used it to target overseas consumers. According to police, factories making counterfeit luxury leather goods are common in Guangzhou's Baiyun and Huadu districts as well as in nearby Dongguan .
One former manufacturer of bootleg luxury bags said he would buy real bags, then pull them apart and enlist leather factories to reproduce them before assembling the fakes at a much lower cost than the genuine article.
The report said many people who were keen on luxury products but could not afford them would buy high-quality copies.
In another case, Beijing police arrested a man and his mother in September last year for selling fake bags online, earning 200,000 yuan from their operation over two years.
Source: South China Morning Post