Police seize R5m in counterfeit goods during swoop on plaza [Cape Times (South Africa)]
(Cape Times (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LARGE plastic bags of branded counterfeit shoes, clothes, electronics and cigarettes worth more than R5 million were confiscated from the Bellville Station Shopping Plaza yesterday.
A convoy of heavily armed police and law enforcement officers swooped on the busy shopping hub opposite the train station in an operation to curb the sale of illegal items in the city.
Moments before officers arrived, the Cape Times saw most of the shop owners removing bags of items from their shops while others rushed to lock their metal roll-up doors.
While most of the shops appeared to be locked and deserted, armed team officers managed to stop several shops from closing.
As officials combed the premises, a number of counterfeit goods were discovered hidden under items and inside trap doors linked to the shops.
Vendors and their customers watched in the passages as officers rummaged through packets of goods.
"We don't want any trouble," a vender pleaded as his shop was searched.
In one of the stalls, computer parts including chargers, keyboards and monitors were confiscated after the shop vendor failed to provide paperwork for the items.
In another, officers found about 30 watches - branded as Adidas, Puma and as sports clubs like Manchester United - hidden inside two bags.
Branded pairs of sports takkies were also discovered by officers under a pile of clothes in the shop.
One of the shop owners, Jeylani Ali, said it was not the first time officers had raided his shop.
"I know they (police) are doing their jobs, but we are not the ones they should be targeting. These items are not made in South Africa. If the government really want to stop this, then they need to stop it at the harbours and airports.
"The big bosses that ship the items to the smaller shops are the ones that should be arrested," he said.
Ali who has worked at the plaza for seven years, said business usually continued as usual after a raid.
"It's a never-ending story, but we know these things will be sold to the shop owners again. Most of the time these small shops don't know the difference when things are fake so we just buy it because we also need to provide for our families," he said.
Hashiem da Costa, from the city's department of economic and human development, said similar joint blitz operations had been conducted in Clanwilliam and Muizenberg this week. Goods to the value of R500 000 had been seized.
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