Dubai: Authorities recently conducted a multi-emirate raid against a group of companies that peddled fake jewellery worth more than Dh300,000 that could potentially pose health hazards to consumers. Abu Dhabi Police and Ajman Police raided retail outlets in the capital and a warehouse in Ajman where more than 1,600 fake copies of luxury jewellery brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels’ designs were found.
Some 600 counterfeit bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, and pendants were seized from the retail outlets while more than 1,000 fake goods were confiscated from the warehouse in Ajman.
“Usually, most raids are completed in one day but in this case, the action began in Abu Dhabi in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police and the target were five retail outlets selling counterfeit jewellery items infringing designs of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels’ designs,” Ignacio Giacchi from the Bayt Al Hekhma Consulting that represents both brands told Gulf News.
“After raiding all the target outlets in the capital, the Abu Dhabi Police, who were very cooperative and very determined, decided to get a warrant to go and raid the warehouse where they keep the largest stock in Ajman,” he added.
Giacchi said the raiding team had to stay inside the warehouse for seven hours while obtaining the proper warrant to seize the goods to prevent infringers from hiding the goods or tampering with evidence.
Giacchi said criminal action will be taken against the businessmen. They are waiting for orders to destroy the goods valued at Dh322,000 to deter others from engaging in commercial fraud.
Sellers of knock-offs can be slapped with a fine of between Dh50,000 and Dh250,000 and/or a jail term of not more than two years. The fine is increased to a maximum of Dh1 million and a two-year imprisonment for fake goods that negatively impact human health.
Getting these counterfeit goods off the shelves is the first line of protection for consumers. Fake goods do not pass quality standards and may compromise the end users’ health and safety. In the case of jewellery, Giacchi said industry sources agree that costume jewellery could pose dangers to consumers’ health.
Several reports in the US point to the perils of using costume jewellery, many of which are gold-plated metals that could have lead and other toxic metals. There is no information, however, if the fake jewellery haul in question will be examined to determine if they contain toxic substances or not.
Giacchi said it’s easy for consumers to spot fakes based on three Ps: price, place were it’s sold, and physical qualities. Any counterfeit item will sell at a fraction of the cost of the original. Branded items are usually sold by authorised resellers. Genuine jewellery are also certified as such.
Giacchi said patronising fake goods will not only compromise consumer safety but also indirectly help criminal activity.
“My message to consumers is to buy genuine. Please don’t wear fakes. We should never encourage illegal activities. Basically, counterfeit goods constitute a crime. Buying fake means you’re supporting criminal activity.”