Authorities in China recently shut down a massive counterfeiting operation by seizing $9.6 million worth of counterfeit Crocs shoes. While some knockoffs, such as Gucci, Prada and the like are expected, but seriously – Crocs?
Apparently there actually is a market for counterfeit Crocs
By now, most people should know what Crocs are. It’s a brand of shoes, and while they make a variety of styles including flip-flops, boat shoes, boots and so on, the main one is a clog-style shoe, with a strap on the back. They’re made from a rubbery plastic and come in a variety of colors and variations; some are fur-lined, some are actually in camoflage, etc.
As casual footwear goes, Crocs are awesome. They’re comfy, made of sturdy materials so they are pretty low maintenance and best of all, pretty cheap, as many Crocs shoes go for about $20. You can even find cheaper knockoffs at Payless Shoe Source and Walmart.
However, that’s still not good enough and apparently, there’s a whole industry of counterfeit Crocs in China. According to the Daily Mail, a parcel of 128,752 fakes, worth $9.6 million was recently seized there. That’s a lot of money in fake plastic shoes.
The seizure took place earlier this year in Shanghai province and court cases related to the seizure were settled between March and September of this year. The parcel of counterfeit Crocs resulted in 17 people being convicted for making counterfeit goods, two of which were also convicted of bribing. One other person was also convicted of bribery related to the case. The penalty is 30 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Believe it or not, counterfeit Crocs are not exactly new. As of 2007, fakes were surfacing, as an article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported fakes were emerging and the Independent Online, a news aggregator site in South Africa fed by most of the largest newspapers in that country, reported a counterfeit goods case in Cape Town, South Africa, over people trafficking in faked Crocs.
Other cases have since arisen in China and the Phillipines, according to the Great Wiki Fountain of Internet Knowledge, aka Wikipedia.
What a Croc
Why anyone would fake Crocs, or want to buy them…that’s the rub. They are very cheap and considered a serious fashion faux-pas. People legitimately hate them. Regardless, Crocs that are a crock are apparently big business in China. In September alone, according to the Daily Mail, officials in Shanghai, Guangdong and Fujiang provinces seized more than 600,000 pairs of counterfeit Crocs and instigated 35 prosecutions against those involved. Bear in mind, that’s not counting the 18 recent convictions.
There aren’t any official estimates on just how big the global counterfeiting problem is, but CBS quotes a Customs Department official as saying “62 percent of our seizures are from China.” More than $1 billion is seized every year in Chinese knockoffs.