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How did the $ 470 million fake Nike flow from Putian to the United States?

The US police recently seized another $ 470 million worth of fake shoes, which may be the largest fake shoe smuggling case ever cracked in the United States.

"Make the world wear brand-name shoes." It is said that this is the dream of every Putian shoe industry. They seem to really do it. Now even if you go to the United States to buy Nike sports shoes in person, the chances of getting fake goods are also not low.

In 2000, the New York police seized 300,000 pairs of fake shoes from China, which made Putian's "Fake Shoe Capital" famous overseas. Some Nike employees said when accepting the "New York Times" that he estimated that every three pairs of Nikes in the world One pair is fake.

In the past ten years or so, countries have increasingly cracked down on Putian fake shoes, but the Putian fake shoes industry has become more and more global. The US police recently seized another $ 470 million worth of fake shoes, which may be the largest fake shoe smuggling case ever cracked in the United States.

Compared with the figure of 470 million US dollars, what is even more amazing is the process of police cracking. This is a story combining crime, eavesdropping, undercover and other elements.

How did fake 470 million US dollars flow from Putian to the United States?

According to official US documents, the key clue to cracking the fake shoe case was provided by a person familiar with the fake shoe smuggling industry, which he called "CD" in the document.

The CD didn't find his conscience to take the initiative to report, but before that he had been arrested by the U.S. police for another case. In order to reduce the sentence, he began to provide clues to the US Department of Homeland Security Investigation ( HS I) and smuggled as an undercover agent. Criminals trading fake shoes.

According to a phone number provided by the CD, HSI found a Chinese citizen with the last name. In 2017, Zeng used this number to apply for a tourist visa to the United States. The application also provided an address in Shenzhen. Zeng claimed that he was Deputy manager of an investment company in Shenzhen, but in fact this company does not exist.

Under the guidance of HSI, the CD began to attract Zengmou step by step.

Earlier last year, the CD met a person labeled "No. 1" in a store in Queens, New York, and sent the "No. 1" phone number to a one-time phone, which was passed to the "2" in China "No." contact, and "No. 2" soon revealed to CD the whereabouts of Zeng.

Soon after, Zeng volunteered to contact the CD and asked him to purchase a one-time phone with a California area code. Zeng also provided the CD with an e-mail password for the company whose domain name is "tehtungcorp.com". It is reported that the company has operations in China and the United States and has legal documents.

Zeng told the CD that a container from Nanshan District of Shenzhen would soon arrive at the port of Los Angeles. According to the declaration documents, this container was loaded with 11 tons of napkins.

Federal government agents have been monitoring all communications between the CD and Zengmou, and intercepted the containers when they arrived in California. Two rows of boxes with ordinary shoes were found inside the container. All are counterfeit Nike shoes.

In order to release long-line fishing for big fish, HSI did not seize the fake shoes, but detained a small number of fake shoes as evidence and released them in order to track the destination of these fake shoes.

The first transaction went smoothly, allowing Zengmou to trust the CD more. I quickly contacted the CD again in April. This time I replaced a company from Hong Kong. The shipping documents showed 1134 boxes of glass vases, weighing nearly 9 tons. In fact, a lot of fake shoes were loaded.

This time HSI still did not seize these fake shoes. In July, a certain trick was repeated. This time, in addition to Nike and LV sports shoes, HSI has initially confirmed that the end point of these fake shoes is a Brooklyn-based warehouse.

After gathering enough evidence, US police finally took action in December last year. On December 4, Zeng flew from South Korea to Las Vegas, the United States. Two days later, the US prosecutor signed the indictment and kept it strictly confidential.

On December 27, Zeng was arrested while preparing to board at Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. According to statistics, if the fake shoes sent by Zengmou to the United States are sold at genuine prices, the cumulative value is as high as 470 million US dollars.

Over the past decade, US Customs has been familiar with fake shoes from China. In 2018, the U.S. police seized 380,000 pairs of fake AJs from China in New York, which were reported to be worth at least $ 73 million and arrested five suspects.

In October last year, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized two more containers from China in Los Angeles's Changdi Port, which contained nearly 15,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers. Like Zeng's trick, these two containers The content of the declaration is a napkin.

Although the amount of fake shoes cracked by the US police has been increasing, they have not been able to cut off the roots, and there are more and more Putian fake shoes flowing into overseas countries. Some experts even have difficulty distinguishing between genuine and fake.

Overseas industry chain of Putian fake shoes

Although there is no evidence that fake shoes flowing from China to the United States are from Putian, according to a circulating report in Putian: "Nine pairs of 10 pairs of fake shoes on the domestic market are shipped from here; of every 3 pairs of Nike shoes worldwide, There is a pair of imitations from here. "I am afraid these fake shoes can't be related to Putian.

Putian's fake shoe industry is constantly banned, and its heavy profits and lighter punishments are important reasons. An Interpol expert told the New York Times:

If a container of counterfeit shoes is seized, at most, the goods are confiscated and the customs records. For 3 kg of heroin, the sentence is 4 to 6 years in prison. This is why smugglers are expanding their business.

In a documentary, VICE interviewed Chan, a fake shoe dealer from China. Chan was a student studying medicine in the UK. He had already started selling Putian fake shoes while studying abroad.

According to Chan, his customers are all over the world. He usually learns consumer preferences mainly through the foreign forum Reddit. He can sell up to 120 pairs a day and earn a monthly income of 100,000 US dollars.

Chan, who tasted the sweetness, simply "abandoned his doctor and took leave" and moved directly to Putian after graduation to expand his fake shoe business. When asked whether such fake shoes would cause losses to some people, Chan answered like this ;

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the brand side, but I think it also helps the brand side to raise awareness. This is actually a win for consumers, shoe vendors and brand parties.

The reason Putian has become the world-famous "fake shoe capital" has to start with the 1980s. With the advent of reform and opening up, many international sports brands have shifted their foundries from Taiwan to the mainland. Putian, Fujian, near Taiwan, has taken over the foundries of many brands. Basically, Nike, Adidas, PUMA and other brands that can be named Both have OEM factories in Putian.

Near the water floor, according to the New York Times, the fake shoe maker bribes the workers of the foundry to smuggle out the sample shoes or design drawings, so sometimes the fake shoes can even be put on the market before the genuine goods are listed.

These foundries are now much more regulated and it is almost impossible to smuggle design drawings. However, fake shoe manufacturers can also buy genuine sneakers from stores, and then disassemble them. After understanding the structure and fabric of the shoes, they can make molds with a high degree of simulation to mass produce fake shoes.

The fabrics and tools used in the manufacture of some fake shoes in Putian are exactly the same as those in the genuine foundry. Even the foundry workers are in the same batch. This is also the difficulty in realizing fake shoes from design to quality. To identify the important reasons.

According to incomplete statistics, the annual output value of Putian's footwear industry is as high as more than 60 billion, with 500,000 engaged in the footwear industry, accounting for nearly one sixth of Putian's permanent population.

Many Putian people have made their fortunes by making and selling fake shoes, and this interest relationship has made it harder to crack down. "China News Weekly" once interviewed Alin, the owner of a shoe factory in Putian, who hinted to reporters that "it's time for the relationship." He also revealed a disturbing fact:

90% of Putian are related to this, how to check? Who to check?

This is reminiscent of the entire village in the TV series "Icebreaking", which is a village-wide poison-making village. It is also "full participation", it is also a huge profit, and it is also exported overseas. The difference is that the risk of making and selling fake shoes is Much lower than making drugs.

According to statistics, last year, global counterfeit goods sales exceeded US $ 520 billion, accounting for 3.3% of the total global trade volume. Among the counterfeit goods seized every year in the United States, fake shoes have always been one of the largest categories.

It may be more difficult for Putian to take off the stigma of "Fake Shoes Capital" than to "make the world's brand-name shoes".

Source: Love Fan children Author: Lee extraordinary

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