Counterfeits bulldozed in Swiss awareness campaign

Bulldozer destroying fakesSwitzerland's Stop Piracy group publicly destroyed 15,000 tonnes of counterfeit watches and two tonnes of illicit medicines last month as part of an awareness-raising campaign.

The 'destruction derby' - which took place in Berne on October 21 - was designed to tie in with the ongoing 'We subsidise criminals' media campaign that aims to make consumers aware of the organised networks behind counterfeiting.

"When asked about counterfeiting and piracy, many Swiss think first of beach vendors and street hawkers in sunny tourist strongholds," says Stop Piracy.

"But these vendors are usually only the last link in an illegal business worth billions which is controlled by well organised bands involving almost every product group."

Many consumers are unaware that they are subsidising criminal organisations when they purchase counterfeits, and are feeling increasingly insecure in view of the "sheer volume of counterfeited products," according to Stop Piracy president Anastasia Li-Treyer.

We subsidise criminals

All over the world, consumers are being put at risk, social welfare systems cheated, buyers deceived and ultimately jobs destroyed, just so illegal trade can prosper, said the group. In addition to safety and health factors, the public sector and manufacturers of the genuine articles are also being affected. They are being cheated of tax revenues or, respectively, fair wages for their work. Meanwhile, counterfeiters are reinvesting their billions of profit into numerous other illegal activities such as drug or human trafficking.

"Consumers must be actively informed about the background of this sordid business," noted Li-Treyer.

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