Phone fakes ring up a booming trade
Dhs327m in counterfeit handsets and accessories seized in Dubai this year
Twelve million fake mobile phones and accessories have been seized in the space of just nine months, in what officials said demonstrates the scale of Dubai’s counterfeit trade.
Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) officials said the haul was worth a staggering Dhs327 million.
Among the items were 222,996 fake and refurbished handsets and 12.5 million accessories such as replacement batteries, chargers, headphones and screens. The goods are often sold in market stalls and on the streets.
Officials said that in one major raid this year more than Dhs30 million worth of counterfeit mobile phones and accessories were found.
Ibrahim Behzad, the Head of Intellectual Property Rights division at DED, said: “It was a workshop, inside a villa, that renewed old phones and sold them as if new. “We raided it with the help of Dubai Police’s Anti-Economic Crime Department and seized more than 26,000 phones in addition to 1.3 million fake phone accessories.” Behzad added: “Specialised teams have been conducting regular campaigns and random inspections at warehouses in Dubai, imposing penalties on violators and destroying confiscated goods. Our efforts forced them to change their ways to hide their products.”
DED and police have previously said fake handsets, often fake iPhone and Samsung models, can be dangerous, particularly once charged. Behzad also said fake luxury handbags also continue to be seized, despite ever more elaborate attempts to hide and smuggle goods. In one raid, inspectors found 5,000 counterfeit bags hidden behind a huge fish tank at a retailer in International City. He said: “The tank contained live fish and shrimp and we wanted to check if it was licensed to do so. But behind these we found racks full of counterfeit branded bags.” Lt General Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Police and head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, also spoke at the first session of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association (EIPA) conference. He said: “Fake products are a danger to society. Combating this crime requires the help of the public, rather than just police and the municipal and economic authorities. If you don’t buy fake products there will be a decrease. Counterfeiters do not follow safety specifications and standards and these items can harm the users.”