Phone fakes ring up a boom­ing trade

Dh­s327m in coun­ter­feit hand­sets and ac­ces­sories seized in Dubai this year

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali Al Shouk @alial­shouk

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.”

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