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Feb 25, 2004

Fake designer clothes seized by customs

If it looks like a name brand, feels like a name brand and has all the trademarks of a name brand except the high price, it’s probably a fake. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit clothing have been seized by Belize Customs officials, working in collaboration with U.S. based manufacturers of the real thing. According to a release from the United States Embassy, six hundred thousand Belize dollars worth of fake Levi’s, Dockers, and Tommy Hilfiger threads was stopped at the customs main compound exactly one week ago. The rip-offs were verified by investigators from Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger in what the U.S. Embassy says was a routine customs inspection of containers arriving in the country. Embassy Political/Economic Officer Edgar Embrey told News 5 this afternoon that the bogus goods arrived by ship, via Jamaica and Curacao, from the Far East. The importer has been identified as Shalimar Limited, a company registered in the Corozal Free Zone, but to date, no charges have been levied against the owners. We understand that two months ago, similar checks led to the discovery of fake Marlboro cigarettes imported to Belize and bound for Mexico. Embrey says the embassy will continue to monitor suspected counterfeit merchandise being imported to Belize and company representatives of Levi Strauss, Tommy Hilfiger, and Phillip Morris say they can be in Belize on short notice if more fake stuff pops up. As for the clothing itself, News 5 understands that the companies have already indicated their desire to have the merchandise donated to a charitable organisation, provided all identifying markings are removed.

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