'Operation Face Mask' lands big haul at secret Sapa factory

Czech customs agents uncover millions of crowns worth of counterfeit 'designer' face masks at the popular Sapa marketplace.

James Fassinger

Written by James Fassinger Published on 10.12.2020 11:27:00 (updated on 10.12.2020) Reading time: 1 minute

Earlier this week Prague customs officers raided a shop making made-to-order 'designer' facemasks at a Sapa market location in Prague 4. Officers confiscated almost 65,000 counterfeit face masks and iron-on patches worth almost CZK 18 million.

"We managed to uncover a shop that, at first glance, appeared to be a home textile store. However, after further inspection, it was revealed that the store was filled from floor to ceiling with counterfeit face masks," said customs spokeswoman Ivana Kurková.

Brands like Gucci, Adidas, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Apple, Fortnite, in addition to others were uncovered, Kurková added.

"This is the place used by marketers to manufacture made-to-order face masks," she said.

According to Kurková, customs officers are negotiating with trademark representatives to allow the use of confiscated goods for humanitarian purposes, but it is not yet clear if they will be allowed to do so.

As part of the nationwide campaign 'Operation Face Mask' that began at the beginning of December, customs officers carried out raids throughout the city, focusing not only on Sapa, but also on stores in the center of Prague, however, the biggest haul was at the Sapa location.

A total of 189 customs officers took part in the operation, inspecting 73 locations where they found intellectual property infringements at 58 locations.

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