Thousands of Louis Vuitton fakes seized in Manila

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 03 2010 06:44 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2010 02:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine law-enforcers seized over 28,000 pieces of counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods worth over four million dollars in a crackdown in Manila, a justice department report said Wednesday.

In raids on a shopping mall and warehouse that began on February 24 justice department agents seized handbags, pouches, leather cases, shoulder bags and other accessories bearing the French luxury goods maker's logo.

The National Bureau of Investigation said it was the Philippines' biggest seizure of counterfeit items in recent memory, and that the seized items were worth P214.7 million ($4.65 million).

The agents were acting on a complaint filed by Louis Vuitton's brand director in the Asia-Pacific region, the bureau added.

The owners and operators of the raided stores and the warehouse face charges of violating intellectual-property laws. If convicted, they could be jailed for up to nine years and incur heavy fines.

Business groups have complained that despite the seizure of counterfeit goods in the Philippines, successful prosecutions for piracy remained low due to tough rules on evidence and possible corruption among law-enforcers.