Fake WC merchandise seized

2006-05-24 08:46

Beijing - Chinese authorities have seized thousands of counterfeit World Cup products, just over two weeks before football's biggest event kicks off in Germany, state media reported on Wednesday.

Customs officials in the eastern city of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, seized 600 counterfeit Fifa soccer balls, Xinhua news agency reported, adding that the destination of the fake products was unknown.

"Ningbo customs will ensure no fake World Cup goods flow out of here," the report quoted an official as saying.

Chinese police and trade officials in Beijing also this week found 2 000 counterfeit T-shirts bearing the World Cup logo, the Beijing Times newspaper reported.

They made the bust after a company that ordered the goods suspected they were counterfeit and reported the case, the report said, adding police took away three delivery staff Tuesday for questioning.

Under pressure from its international trading partners, China has made repeated promises to crack down on its rampant piracy industry that produces everything from copied DVDs to fake medicines and counterfeit sporting goods.

But critics, including the US government, say China is not doing nearly enough.

"Counterfeiting and piracy in China remain at epidemic levels and cause serious economic harm to US businesses in virtually every sector of the economy," the government said in an annual trade report to Congress in March.

The World Cup kicks off in Munich on June 9, with about one million foreign fans expected to attend the tournament.

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