Dh50m in fake perfumes seized from RAK farm

More than 200,000 bottles of counterfeit designer scent found in one of the largest raids in the emirate

The Legal Group's intellectual property division, together with enforcement authorities of Ras Al Khaimah, conducted a massive raid action on counterfeit branded perfumes. Courtesy TLG 
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Counterfeit perfume with an estimated black market value of more than Dh50 million has been seized in Ras Al Khaimah.

Authorities suspect a Chinese gang is behind the record haul, one of the largest recoveries of its kind in the emirate.

A two-day joint operation between police, economic officials and counterfeit experts from The Legal Group intercepted 15 vehicles loaded with fake versions of brands like Chanel, Gucci and Estee Lauder.

Hatem Abdulghani, a director of The Legal Group, a law firm in Dubai hired by the luxury brands, said the perfumes were being prepared for sale across the region.

“Usually big traders from around the region will buy these fake perfumes in bulk and take them back to their own countries to sell in their showrooms," he said.

“There were 200,000 pieces recovered in the raid, with each likely to be sold for between Dh350-400.

“They are sold to the wholesaler for just Dh10 each, so there is a big mark up in the price.

“Authorities have arrested the owner of the farm where the vehicles were parked.”

TLG's intellectual property division notified RAK Police about the remote farm after they received a tip off about the counterfeit goods.

Police monitored the farm and, after confirming it stored fake goods, carried out a raid on November 7.

Enforcement officers uncovered three 12-metre shipping containers loaded with fake perfumes. Boxes of perfumes had already been loaded onto smaller trucks ready for distribution.

Boxes of fake perfume loaded onto trucks for distribution. Courtesy TLG  

The raid comes as part of a nationwide crackdown on fake-goods to protect consumers.

More than 9,000 counterfeit products were confiscated in the UAE capital between May and August by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Of the 9,148 fake items, officials recovered spare car parts, electronic devices, clothes, cosmetics and accessories.

Experts warned consumers to look out for buying cheap perfumes online that could be harmful.

Tell tale signs a perfume may be fake is ‘off’ colouring, offset package lettering, a too thick or thin liquid consistency, ill-fitting cap, weak smell or missing lettering or graphics on packaging.

Evidence of tampering with a spray cap on a perfume bottle could also indicate a real bottle has been filled with fake scent.

“We did not analyse the perfumes in this particular raid, but we recognise the kind of chemicals used in these operations,” said Mr Abdulghani.

“Artificial colours from dangerous materials are used to make these kind of products look real.

“This was the largest raid we have conducted in Ras Al Khaimah, but we have done bigger operations in Dubai, Ajman and Sharjah.

“No one has been prosecuted yet, but we know the people behind this are outside the country in China.”