FAKE and counterfeit toys worth €18million that put childrens’ lives at risk have been seized in a Europe-wide operation led by Spain’s Guardia Civil.
Operation Ludus II was conducted over three months from October 2021, targeting the trafficking of counterfeit toys and other goods.
The seizures made included counterfeit and illegal games and video games, dolls and puppets from famous TV series and counterfeit clothing branded as High Street goods.
Some contained risks such as chemical exposure, strangulation, choking, electric shock, damage to hearing and fire hazards.
Joined by Policia Nacional, the Guardia worked with Spanish Customs authorities (DAVA), Romanian Police and law enforcement authorities from 21 other countries.
Many raids followed online investigations initiated on e-commerce platforms.
The majority of fake toys were imported from East Asia to the EU, UK and the US.
As well as the danger to public safety, authorities also detected intellectual property rights violations, lack of CE markings and EU Declarations of Conformity.
Operation Ludus II in a nutshell
- Seizures worth nearly EUR 18 million
- More than 5 million counterfeit toys
- 2,600+ administrative/health prevention cases opened
- 99 individuals reported to judicial authorities
- 1 459 individuals reported to administrative/health authorities
- 72 online markets checked
- 30 websites shut down
In the Lazio and Campania regions, the Italian Financial Corps (Guardia di Finanza) intercepted and seized a large amount of illegal puzzle games coming from an Asian country.
The French Customs authorities (Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects) disrupted a regular supply of counterfeit toys, which were sold via a famous e-commerce platform. The investigation, named Pokezone, allowed authorities to detect a large amount of products, which were being sold on the internal markets of France and six other countries.
International front against fake toys
Europol coordinated the operational activities, facilitated the communication exchange and provided operational analysis. They also supported the activities with technical expertise.
Participating EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
Third-party countries: Ivory Coast, North Macedonia, United Kingdom and United States.