When it comes to selecting gifts for kids, LEGO is always an easy choice. However, consumers of the world-renowned Danish brand recently discovered that they might not have been purchasing the real thing. Shanghai police busted a gang accused of manufacturing copycat LEGO products last week, reports China.org.
According to police, the brand LEPIN first appeared on their radar last October. LEPIN's products bore an uncanny resemblance to the LEGO series. The counterfeit toys were not only sold at department stores throughout China, but also on online stores like T-Mall and JD. The knockoff toys were even spotted in countries like Russia and Germany. The major difference between LEPIN and LEGO was the price. The retail price for LEPIN products was one-tenth of LEGO's official sets.
On April 23, Shanghai and Guangdong police successfully tracked down the Shenzhen-based gang and arrested four suspects. They seized more than 90 production molds and over 630,000 fake toy sets.
Confiscated fake products. Image via The Paper
"The gang started pirating LEGO products back in 2015," one of the officers said to The Paper. "By selling their products at a rather low price via various channels, they had sold products worth over RMB200 million (USD29.7 million)." The investigation is ongoing.
However, not all netizens are fond of what the Shanghai police did.
"The success of LEPIN is the perfect proof of how expensive LEGO is," commented one netizen.
"Why so serious? They are just kids' toys," complained another. "LEGOs cost too much for me to afford."
Some netizens do support the actions of the police.
"It's not toys which are expensive," stated one netizen. "What truly matters is intellectual property, which is priceless."
[Cover image via The Paper]