Persistent efforts to clamp down on the illegal trade of counterfeit goods were rewarded when fake clothing, watches, and other apparel to the tune of R5.1 million were confiscated during an integrated operation in Bellville yesterday afternoon, Thursday, 25 January 2024

The takedown operation, between members of SAPS, Customs, Home Affairs and brand protectors from various popular products kicked off at around 11:00 with a search warrant at a shopping complex close to the Bellville taxi rank where two similar operations have been conducted in the recent past.

Upon the arrival, SAPS members found most of the stores abandoned, but this did not deter the operation to be executed. Three Somalian men in their mid-thirties were arrested and counterfeit goods to the estimated valued of about R5.1million were seized.

One of the three arrestees, a 36-year-old man was found inside a shop fronting as a copy shop, where members confiscated a substantial amount of cash, passports, photos, certificates, including, birth, asylum, death, refugee certificates and vehicle licences, affidavits and a money counting machine.

The suspects face charges relating to the possession of counterfeit goods and fraud and is scheduled to appear in the Bellville Magistrates’ court once charged. More charges might be added as investigation by the Provincial Detective’s Commercial branch unfolds.

The Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape police, Lt Gen (Adv) TE Patekile who termed the trade of counterfeit goods as economic sabotage of the country expressed his appreciation towards the members of the team who ensured the successful removal of fake products from the streets of the Province. He also issued a warning to building owners and landlords who are well aware of the illegal activities on their premises that they are also in the sights of SAPS.