Authorities crack down on flea market fakes
TRENTON, N.J.: Used to be, if you wanted a knockoff handbag or fake fragrance, Lower Manhattan's Canal Street was a mecca.
But with flea markets across the country now carrying the same kind of counterfeit products with poser trademarks, authorities warn that shoppers may get more than they bargain for in poor quality and safety risks while helping fund criminal syndicates in some cases. "If the price is too good, you have to think about it," said Lt. Mike McDonnell with the New Jersey State Police cargo theft unit. "If you see it at a flea market and it's half the price of normal, you have to think there's something wrong."
The unit earlier this month seized more than 5,000 pieces of counterfeit product at a flea market in Springfield, including fake Estee Lauder and MAC cosmetics that retail for more than $300,000. The safety risks of buying fake goods are real, experts say. Counterfeit goods are different than socalled knockdowns, or cheaper brands. Knockdowns, like items sold by Wal-Mart, Target and other major retailers are required to undergo safety checks. Fakes usually are smuggled into the country and unregulated.
Safety risks include fake batteries that contain mercury, electrical products that don't meet safety standards, perfumes found to contain urine and high alcohol content, and clothing made with toxic dyes and flammable materials. And if the potential health risks don't scare buyers, the economic risks and potential terror funding should, said Robert Barchiesi, president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.
" You support organized crime, gang activity, and terrorist organizations that use this as a funding mechanism," he said. -Reuters
JAMMU: A labourer unloads vegetables from a truck at a wholesale market in Jammu Thursday. India's food inflation accelerated to a 10-week high in mid-December on rising prices of vegetables, while the fuel index also rose, adding to inflationary worries in Asia's third-largest economy. -Reuters