Europol seizes five million unsafe fake toys
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Europol seized more than five million potentially hazardous counterfeit toys worth more than 18 million euros ($20 million) between October 2021 and January 2022, the European Union police agency said Thursday.
The haul included "counterfeit and illegal puzzle games, videogames and related characters, board and card games, dolls and puppets from famous TV series, bricks for children and clothing and accessories from famous brands", Europol said.
Operation Ludus II, the second major investigation of its type, was coordinated by Europol and led by police and customs officials in Spain and Romania.
The probe involved law enforcement authorities from 21 countries -- 19 European states, the United States and Ivory Coast.
It resulted in "the seizure of hazardous toys with a total value of more than 18 million euros".
The first Operation Ludus was launched in 2020 after the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) warned about toys that did not conform to EU safety norms and were therefore dangerous to children.
Europol said the merchandise impounded after the latest investigation "harboured risks such as chemical exposure, strangulation, choking, electric shock, damage to hearing and fire hazards".
The agency said 72 e-commerce platforms had been subject to surveillance, leading to 30 websites being shut down, 99 individuals being reported to judicial authorities and 1,459 to health or administrative authorities.
Counterfeit goods today represent 2.5 percent of all global trade.