By Yuzhou Hu
Consumers of the ultra-popular toy brand LEGO discovered that they might not have been purchasing the real thing. Last week, Shanghai police busted a gang accused of selling a whopping RMB200 million (USD29.7 million) worth of knockoff LEGO products, reports China.org.
According to police, a Shenzhen-based company called LEPIN first appeared on their radar last October. The company was selling products that bore an uncanny resemblance to LEGO toy sets. The major difference between LEPIN and LEGO was that LEPIN products sold for one-tenth the price of LEGO's official sets.
The counterfeit toys were sold at department stores throughout China and online at T-Mall and JD. The knockoff toys were even spotted in shops in Russia and Germany.
On April 23, Shanghai and Guangdong police successfully tracked down the Shenzhen-based gang and arrested four suspects. Police seized nearly 100 production molds and over 630,000 fake toy sets.
Confiscated fake products. Image via The Paper
"The gang started pirating LEGO products back in 2015," one of the officers said to The Paper. "By selling their products at a rather low price via various channels, they had sold products worth over RMB200 million (USD29.7 million)." The investigation is ongoing.
Oddly enough, not everyone agrees that the group did anything wrong.
"The success of LEPIN is the perfect proof of how expensive LEGO is," commented one netizen.
"Why so serious? They are just kids' toys," complained another. "LEGOs cost too much for me to afford."
However, some netizens support the actions of the police.
"It's not toys which are expensive," stated one netizen. "What truly matters is intellectual property, which is priceless."
[Cover image via The Paper]
This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).