Border guards crush tonne of fake pots

Swiss Border Guards rolled out a 40-tonne excavator in Geneva on Tuesday to destroy hundreds of counterfeit pots and pans bearing the mark of Switzerland’s red cross.

Border guards crush tonne of fake pots
Photo: Swiss Border Guards

The phoney cooking utensils were seized by guards over the past two years, along with 2,700 fake Swiss knives that were also crushed under the excavator’s caterpillar tracks.

“You have before you a tonne of rubbish,” said Jérôme Coquoz, regional director of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) as the event staged for media and politicians got under way.

The FCA said it arrested 17 people in connection with the attempted importation of the counterfeit goods.

They faced fines and even prison terms for their actions.

A dozen seizures were made at the Geneva border and two containers of fake pots and pans were recently intercepted at the Basel border, the Tribune de Genève reported.

The illegal kitchenware that is not seized can be sold to unsuspecting customers in Switzerland for 30 to 40 times the purchase price, the newspaper said.

A set of Chinese pots and pans bearing the false stamp of a “Swiss” manufacturer has been seen to command as much as 1,700 euros, although its original price was just 35 euros, the daily said, citing information from the FCA.

The phoney brand names used are often made up, although sometimes real company names are used.

“It’s above all the damage to our image that hurts us,” Wolfgang Aufwärter, a spokesman from Swiss kitchenware manufacturer Kuhn Rikon, told 20 Minuten newspaper.

“Many customers ask for our help because they have bought fraudulent products thinking they were acquiring our merchandise.”

Quite apart from the trademark violations, the counterfeit products can pose a health risk.

The fake knifes are brittle while the alloys used for pots are potentially harmful, officials say. 

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