The New York Police Department said Wednesday that an 18-month undercover investigation into the sales of fake Nike, Rolex, Gucci and Calvin Klein merchandise led to the arrests of nine alleged counterfeiters and the seizure of merchandise valued at more than $700,000.
To mount the investigation, called "Operation Hook," the NYPD opened a warehouse in Downtown Brooklyn under the name D.T. Trading, staffed it with undercover detectives, who posed as dealers of counterfeit merchandise, and wired it with cameras and recording devices. The NYPD said in a statement that it recorded at least three transactions with each person arrested.
The people arrested were Isaac Gadeh, Daniel Garfinkel, Yun Hai Wu, Oliver Ting, James Woo, Yiu Wah Cheung, Min Choi, Manoj Manglani and Dong Ko Cho. All were charged with third-degree trademark counterfeiting, a felony.
"Trademark counterfeiting is a global problem that costs legitimate businesses billions of dollars each year," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a press conference at police headquarters. "Counterfeiters hurt businesses, deprive the city of taxes and rip off the consumers who buy their inferior goods."
The sale of counterfeit merchandise has long been an issue in New York, from storefronts in Chinatown hawking knockoff handbags and sidewalk sellers of phony branded sweatshirts to one particularly brazen seller of bogus Rolexes, who, during the Nineties, offered his wares for sale in front of Rolex’s Midtown office building.
The NYPD said it also searched the warehouses, outlets and homes of the people arrested and recovered bogus Tiffany jewelry, Louis Vuitton handbags, Oakley sunglasses, Kangol hats, a Phat Farm sweatshirt and caps with Major League Baseball logos. The NYPD estimated the sale of the counterfeit merchandise cost the owners of the trademarks $2 million in lost business.
The operation was partly funded by money donated by the companies whose brands are frequently counterfeited.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews