Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) carried out a massive crackdown on counterfeit items in one of the city’s less glamorous neighborhoods, Karama, where they confiscated about 7,000 items worth approximately $136,000 (500,000 AED).
The Khaleej Times joined DED officers on a live raid on Thursday where shop owners were preparing for a weekend mega-sale of fake items like Louis Vuitton belts, bags, shoes and many others.
A video that the news site shared showed the officers having a morning meeting to discuss their plan of attack where the director of Intellectual Property Rights Management at the DED, Ibrahim Behzad, briefed his team of four inspectors on six targets in Karama and how to reach them at the same time.
“The counterfeit items in Dubai are not sold in the main viewing area of the shop. They are always behind a secret door or in a secret apartment, especially in Karama,” one officer told the Khaleej Times.
One shop received a hefty fine of 30,000 AED, and was also closed down indefinitely.
The newspaper reported that the items are usually hidden behind secret doors and under floor tiles.
“Now that we have reached, we need to move fast. We are going to our first target. In Karama, you can't stay at one shop [for long]. You should keep moving. Every minute that we lose by staying longer in a shop, they may be removing a fake item from another shop,” he added.
According to the officer, a transportation company is called to pick up the items from each shop, and transportation costs are allocated to each store selling the counterfeit items accordingly.
Among the illegal activity, other than selling fake items, other store owners were charged for operating without a trade license.
The confiscated items usually get destroyed after being stored in the DED warehouse for 10 days in case they need to revisit the case.
In 2017, 26.2 million pieces of counterfeit goods worth $1.19 billion were seized. Cosmetics topped the list of fake items caught in 2017 followed by mobile phones and fragrances.