Customs agency destroys US$60-million worth of counterfeit goodsThursday, July 01, 2021
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON
APPROXIMATELY US$60-million worth of counterfeit goods, which breached intellectual property rights, were yesterday destroyed by Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) which had seized them after arrival into the island.
The 13 containers of counterfeit brands, including Kipling assorted bags, and fake brands of Jordan, Puma, Adidas and Nike shoes, were destroyed with an industrial shredder provided by the British High Commission at a warehouse in the Corporate Area.
Director of the agency's Contraband Enforcement Team (CET), Albert Anderson, told the Jamaica Observer that the fake brands, which were seized in 2017, are now being destroyed due to the lengthy process which was impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“They are intellectual property rights infringing products which means they are not created by the owners of the copyright. They are basically counterfeit items coming out of China. It is a lengthy process because you have to give the persons who are importing these goods time to prove which goods are actually genuine and not counterfeit,” he said.
The process, he said, involves detection, detention, seizure and forfeiture of goods. Anderson added that permission is then sought from Ministry of Finance and Public Service to allow destruction.
“Had it not been for novel coronavirus pandemic, these goods would have probably been disposed of from last year,” he said, noting that the destruction should be completed by next week.
Explaining how the shredder works, Anderson said a total of 10 pairs of sneakers can be added and destroyed in one minute.
“We have to strip the containers and then run the items through the shredder, then carry them to Riverton City Landfill. It depends on how fast you put the items in the shredder. In about six seconds, it goes through one pair of sneakers,” said Anderson.
He noted, too, that sometimes when the fake goods are thrown into the shredder, they produce smoke due to the material used for production.
Meanwhile, attorney-at-law Mickhail Jackson stressed that fake goods cannot be donated as they can pose serious health risks.
“They have to be destroyed because they are not safe. You have brand name shoes like Nike that have special insulation that should give your feet support. The fake shoes, on the other hand, can cause back injury,” he explained.
He pointed out that the fake goods are made from harmful material such as substandard dyes, rubbers and silica gel, which are harmful to the skin.
“They can cause lifelong conditions and cause allergy. It is not easy to just give the items out like that because there is a liability that flows from it but more importantly, health and safety concerns for people who use substandard items. These items that are being destroyed are very bad. They are very unsafe and not fit to give to the public,” Jackson added.
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