Determined, no doubt, to stop the spread of misspelled players names and slightly off team colors, Hong Kong customs has swooped in and seized some 57,000 fake soccer jerseys in an operation targeted at counterfeiters looking to cash in on World Cup fever.
Five people have so far been arrested as part of the more than month-long operation dubbed “Goalkeeper.”
In total, some 260,000 items of suspected fake swag have been seized, worth about HK$15.3 million (US$1.9 million), according to a statement by the Customs Department.
What type of swag you ask?
Well, the haul included 50,000 pairs of shoes and 29,000 bags.
Among the 57,000 jerseys confiscated, 50,000 bear suspected forged FIFA trademarks. Which is shameful, considering all the good and honest work those folks at FIFA do. *ahem*
The seizures represent about 21 separate cases, and were seized from 12 shipping containers, four vehicles delivering goods and a batch of air parcels.
Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, importing or exporting items with forged trademarks carries a potential five year jail term and a maximum fine of HK$500,000 (US$63,700).
In its statement, the customs department reiterated that “all along” it had been committed to combating infringing activities in Hong Kong, lest anyone think this was a one-off effort.
It vowed to continue the operation and, using sexy customs speak, promised to “step up mobilization for stringent enforcement actions especially on the eve of and during mega international sport events.”
The World Cup, hosted by Russia, kicked off last night with the home side defeating Saudi Arabia 5-0.
Meanwhile, officers from Hong Kong’s police force have also gotten in on the World Cup-related action, busting an illegal cross-border online betting ring.
According to the SCMP, the city’s police, together with mainland authorities, arrested 50 people and seized HK$78 million (US$9.9 million) worth of betting records and HK$2.5 (US$318,000) million in cash.
Not to be outdone by their customs counterparts when it came to cool codenames, the force dubbed their crackdown operation “blazespike.”
The force has also launched another anti-illegal gambling operation targeted at: the kids.
To highlight the dangers of falling in with illegal bookmakers, the police have released a short movie on Facebook about a youthful-looking and cocky lad who confidently throws in his savings with Brazil.
Giving perhaps a peak at some presumptions made by the police social media team, the video the suggests that Brazil, doesn’t do so well.